π1v omitted3 words A1r

of the

or, The
Fair Vow-Breaker.

Written by Mrs. A. Behn.

1688-10-22Octob. 22. 1688. Ric. Pocock.

Printed for A. Baskerville, at the Bible,
the Corner of Eſſex-Street, againſt
St. Clement’s Church, 16891689.

A1v flawed-reproduction3 words A2r

To the Moſt Illuſtrious Princeſs, The Dutcheſs of Mazarine.


There are none of an Illuſtrious Quality, who have not been made, by ſome Poet or other, the Patroneſſes of his Diſtreſs’d Hero, or Unfortunate Damſel; and ſuch Addreſſes are Tributes, due only to the moſt Elevated, where they have always been very well receiv’d, ſince they are the greateſt Teſtimonies A2 we A2v we can give, of our Eſteem and Veneration.

Madam, when I ſurvey’d the whole Toor of Ladies at Court, which was Adorn’d by you, who appear’d there with a Grace and Majeſty, peculiar to Your Great Self only, mix’d with an irreſiſtible Air of Sweetneſs, Generoſity, and Wit, I was impatient for an Opportunity, to tell Your Grace, how infinitely one of Your own Sex ador’d You, and that, among all the numerous Conqueſt, Your Grace A3r Grace has made over the Hearts of Men, Your Grace had not ſubdu’d a more intire Slave; I aſſure you, Madam, there is neither Compliment, nor Poetry, in this humble Declaration, but a Truth, which has coſt me a great deal of Inquietude, for that Fortune has not ſet me in ſuch a Station, as might juſtifie my Pretence to the honour and ſatisfaction of being ever near Your Grace, to view eternally that lovely Perſon, and here that ſur- A3v ſurprizing Wit; what can be more grateful to a Heart, than ſo great, and ſo agreeable, an Entertainment? And how few Objects are there, that can render it ſo entire a Pleaſure, as at once to hear you ſpeak, and to look upon your Beauty? A Beauty that is heighten’d, if poſſible, with an air of Negligence, in Dreſs, wholly Charming, as if your Beauty diſdain’d thoſe little Arts of your Sex, which Nicety alone is their greateſt Charm, while yours, Ma- A4r Madam, even without the Aſſiſtance of your exalted Birth, begets an Awe and Reverence in all that do approach you, and every one is proud, and pleas’d, in paying you Homage their ſeveral ways, according to their Capacities and Talents; mine, Madam, can only be expreſt by my Pen, which would be infinitely honour’d, in being permitted to celebrate your great Name for ever, and perpetually to ſerve, where it has ſo great an inclination.

In A4v

In the mean time, Madam, I preſume to lay this little Trifle at your Feet; the Story is true, as it is on the Records of the Town, where it was tranſacted; and if my fair unfortunate Vow- Breaker do not deſerve the honour of your Graces Protection, at leaſt, ſhe will be found worthy of your Pity; which will be a ſufficient Glory, both for her, and,

Madam, Your Graces moſt humble, and moſt obedient Servant,

A. Behn.

B1r 1

Henrietta The Johnston History her Book of the Nun: or, The Fair Vow-Breaker.

Of all the Sins, incident to Human Nature, there is none, of which Heaven has took ſo particular, viſible, and frequent Notice, and Revenge, as on that of Violated Vows, B which B1v 2 which never go unpuniſhed; and the cupids may boaſt what they will, for the encouragement of their Trade of Love, that Heaven never takes cogniſance of Lovers broken Vows and Oaths, and that ’tis the only Perjury that eſcapes the Anger of the Gods: But I verily believe, if it were ſearch’d into, we ſhould find theſe frequent Perjuries, that paſs in the World for ſo many Gallantries only, to be the occaſion of ſo many unhappy Marriages, and the cauſe of all thoſe Misfortunes, which are ſo frequent to the Nuptiall’d Pair. For not one of a Thouſand, but, either on his ſide, or on hers, has been perjur’d, and broke Vows made to ſome fond believing Wretch, whom they have abandon’d and undone. What Man that does not boaſt of the Numbers he has thus ruin’d, and, who does not glory in the ſhameful Tri- B2r 3 Triumph? Nay, what Woman, almoſt, has not the pleaſure in Deceiving, taught, perhaps, at firſt, by ſome dear falſe one, who had fatally inſtructed her Youth in an Art ſhe ever after practis’d, in Revenge on all thoſe ſhe could be too hard for, and conquer at their own Weapons? For, without all diſpute, Women are by Nature more Conſtant and Juſt, than Men, and did not their firſt Lovers teach them the trick of Change, they would be Doves, that would never quit their Mate, and, like Indian Wives, would leap alive into the Graves of their deceaſed Lovers, and be buried quick with ’em. But Cuſtoms of Countries change even Nature her ſelf, and long Habit takes her place: The Women are taught, by the Lives of the Men, to live up to all their Vices, and are become almoſt as inconſtant; and tis but Modeſty that makes the difference,B2 ference, B2v 4 ference, and, hardly, inclination; ſo deprav’d the niceſt Appetites grow in time, by bad Examples.

But, as there are degrees of Vows, ſo there are degrees of Puniſhments for Vows, there are ſolemn Matrimonial Vows, ſuch as contract and are the moſt effectual Marriage, and have the moſt reaſon to be ſo; there are a thouſand Vows and Friendſhips, that paſs between Man and Man, on a thouſand Occaſions; but there is another Vow, call’d a Sacred Vow, made to God only; and, by which, we oblige our ſelves eternally to ſerve him with all Chaſtity and Devotion: This Vow is only taken, and made, by thoſe that enter into Holy Orders, and, of all broken Vows, theſe are thoſe, that receive the moſt ſevere and notorious Revenges of God; and I am almoſt certain, there is not one Example to be produc’d in the World, where Per B3r 5 Perjuries of this nature have paſt unpuniſh’d, nay, that have not been perſu’d with the greateſt and moſt rigorous of Puniſhments. I could my ſelf, of my own knowledge, give an hundred Examples of the fatal Conſequences of the Violation of Sacred Vows; and who ever make it their buſineſs, and are curious in the ſearch of ſuch Misfortunes, ſhall find, as I ſay, that they never go unregarded.

The young Beauty therefore, who dedicates her ſelf to Heaven, and weds her ſelf for ever to the ſervice of God, ought, firſt, very well to conſider the Self-denial ſhe is going to put upon her Youth, her fickle faithleſs deceiving Youth, of one Opinion to day, and of another to morrow; like Flowers, which never remain in one ſtate or faſhion, but bud to day, and blow by inſenſible degrees, and decay as imperceptibly.B3 cepti- B3v 6 ceptibly. The Reſolution, we promiſe, and believe we ſhall maintain, is not in our power, and nothing is ſo deceitful as human Hearts.

I once was deſign’d an humble Votary in the Houſe of Devotion, but fancying my ſelf not endu’d with an obſtinacy of Mind, great enough to ſecure me from the Efforts and Vanities of the World, I rather choſe to deny my ſelf that Content I could not certainly promiſe my ſelf, than to languiſh (as I have ſeen ſome do) in a certain Affliction; tho’ poſſibly, ſince, I have ſufficiently bewailed that miſtaken and inconſiderate Approbation and Preference of the falſe ungrateful World, (full of nothing but Nonſenſe, Noiſe, falſe Notions, and Contradiction) before the Innocence and Quiet of a Cloyſter; nevertheleſs, I could wiſh, for the prevention of abundance of Miſchiefschiefs B4r 7 chiefs and Miſeries, that Nunneries and Marriages were not to be enter’d into, ’till the Maid, ſo deſtin’d, were of a mature Age to make her own Choice; and that Parents would not make uſe of their juſtly aſſum’d Authority to compel their Children, neither to the one or the other; but ſince I cannot alter Cuſtom, nor ſhall ever be allow’d to make new Laws, or rectify the old ones, I muſt leave the Young Nuns inclos’d to their beſt Endeavours, of making a Virtue of Neceſſity; and the young Wives, to make the beſt of a bad Market.

In Iper, a Town, not long ſince, in the Dominions of the King of Spain, and now in poſſeſſion of the King of France, there liv’d a Man of Quality, of a conſiderable Fortune, call’d, Count Henrick de Vallary, who had a very beautiful Lady, by whom, he had one Daughter, B4 call’d B4v 8 call’d Iſabella, whoſe Mother dying, when ſhe was about two years old, to the unſpeakable Grief of the Count, her Husband, he reſolv’d never to partake of any Pleaſure more, that this tranſitory World could court him with, but determin’d, with himſelf, to dedicate his Youth, and future Days, to Heaven, and to take upon him Holy Orders; and, without conſidering, that, poſſibly, the young Iſabella, when ſhe grew to Woman, might have Sentiments contrary to thoſe that now poſſeſt him, he deſign’d ſhe ſhould alſo become a Nun: However, he was not ſo poſitive in that Reſolution, as to put the matter wholly out of her Choice, but divided his Eſtate; one half he carried with him to the Monaſtery of Jeſuits, of which number, he became one; and the other half, he gave with Iſabella, to the Monaſtery, of which, his only B5r 9 only Siſter was Lady Abbeſs, of the Order of St. Auguſtine; but ſo he ordered the matter, that if, at the Age of Thirteen, Iſabella had not a mind to take Orders, or that the Lady Abbeſs found her Inclination averſe to a Monaſtick Life, ſhe ſhould have ſuch a proportion of the Revenue, as ſhould be fit to marry her to a Noble Man, and left it to the diſcretion of the Lady Abbeſs, who was a Lady of known Piety, and admirable ſtrictneſs of Life, and ſo nearly related to Iſabella, that there was no doubt made of her Integrity and Juſtice.

The little Iſabella was carried immediately (in her Mourning for her dead Mother) into the Nunnery, and was receiv’d as a very diverting Companion by all the young Ladies, and, above all, by her Reverend Aunt, for ſhe was come juſt to the Age of delighting her Parents; ſhe B5 was B5v 10 was the prettieſt forward Pratler in the World, and had a thouſand little Charms to pleaſe, beſides the young Beauties that were juſt budding in her little Angel Face: So that ſhe ſoon became the dear lov’d Favourite of the whole Houſe; and as ſhe was an Entertainment to them all, ſo they made it their ſtudy to find all the Diverſions they could for the pretty Iſabella; and as ſhe grew in Wit and Beauty every day, ſo they fail’d not to cultivate her Mind, and delicate Apprehenſion, in all that was advantageous to her Sex, and whatever Excellency any one abounded in, ſhe was ſure to communicate it to the young Iſabella, if once could Dance, another Sing, another play on this Inſtrument, and another on that; if this ſpoke one Language, and that another, if ſhe had Wit, and ſhe Diſcretion, and a third, the fineſt Faſhion and Manners;ners; B6r 11 ners; all joyn’d to compleat the Mind and Body of this beautiful young Girl: Who, being undiverted with the leſs noble, and leſs ſolid, Vanities of the World, took to theſe Virtues, and excell’d in all; and her Youth and Wit being apt for all Impreſſions, ſhe ſoon became a greater Miſtreſs of their Arts, than thoſe who taught her; ſo that at the Age of eight or nine Years; ſhe was thought fit to receive and entertain all the great Men and Ladies, and the Strangers of any Nation, at the Grate; and that with ſo admirable a Grace, ſo quick and piercing a Wit, and ſo delightful and ſweet a Converſation, that ſhe became the whole Diſcourſe of the Town, and Strangers ſpread her Fame as prodigious, throughout the Chriſtian World; for Strangers came only to hear her talk, and ſing, and play, and to admire her Beauty; and La- B6v 12 Ladies brought their Children to ſhame ’em into good Faſhion and Manners, with looking on the lovely young Iſabella.

The Lady Abbeſs, her Aunt, you may believe, was not a little proud of the Excellencies and Virtues of her fair NieeeNiece, and omitted nothing that might adorn her Mind; becauſe, not only of the vaſtneſs of her Parts and Fame, and the Credit ſhe would do her Houſe, by reſiding there for ever; but alſo, being very loth to part with her conſiderable Fortune, which ſhe muſt reſign, if ſhe returned into the World, ſhe us’d all her Arts and Stratagems to make her become a Nun, to which all the fair Siſterhood contributed their Cunning, but it was altogether needleſs; her Inclination, the ſtrictneſs of her Devotion, her early Prayers, and thoſe continual, and innate Stedfaſtneſs, and B7r 13 and Calm, ſhe was Miſtreſs of; her Ignorance of the World’s Vanities, and thoſe that uninclos’d young Ladies count Pleaſures and Diverſions being all unknown to her, ſhe thought there was no Joy out of a Nunnery, and no Satisfactions on the other ſide of a Grate.

The Lady Abbeſs, ſeeing, that of her ſelf ſhe yielded faſter than ſhe could expect; to diſcharge her Conſcience to her Brother, who came frequently to viſit his Darling Iſabella, would very often diſcourſe to her of the Pleaſures of the World, telling her, how much happier ſhe would think her ſelf, to be the Wife of ſome gallant young Cavalier, and to have Coaches and Equipage; to ſee the World, to behold a thouſand Rarities ſhe had never ſeen, to live in Splendor, to eat high, and wear magnificent Clothes, to be bow’d to as ſhe B7v 14 ſhe paſs’d, and have a thouſsand Adorers, to ſee in time a pretty Offſpring, the products of Love, that ſhould talk, and look, and delight, as ſhe did, the Heart of their Parents; but to all, her Father and the Lady Abbeſs could ſay of the World, and its Pleasures, Iſabella brought a thouſand Reaſons and Arguments, ſo Pious, ſo Devout, that the Abbeſs was very well pleaſed, to find her (purpoſely weak) Propositions ſo well overthrown; and gives an account of her daily Diſcourſes to her Brother, which were no leſs pleaſing to him; and tho’ Iſabella went already dreſs’d as richly as her Quality deſerv’d, yet her Father, to try the utmoſt that the World’s Vanity could do, upon her young Heart, orders the moſt Glorious Clothes ſhould be bought her, and that the Lady Abbeß ſhould ſuffer her to go abroad with thoſe La- B8r 15 Ladies of Quality, that were her Relations, and her Mother’s Acquaintance; that ſhe ſhould viſit and go on the Toore, (that is, the Hide Park there) that ſhe ſhould ſee all that was diverting, to try, whether it were not for want of Temptation to Vanity, that made her leave the World, and love an inclos’d Life.

As the Count had commanded, all things were performed; and Iſabella arriving at her Thirteenth Year of Age, and being pretty tall of Stature, with the fineſt Shape that Fancy can create, with all the Adornment of a perfect brown hair’d Beauty, Eyes black and lovely, Complexion fair; to a Miracle, all her Features of the rareſt proportion, the Mouth red, the Teeth white, and a thouſand Graces in her Meen and Air; ſhe came no ſooner abroad, but ſhe had a thouſand Perſons fighting for love of her; the Re- B8v 16 Reputation her Wit had acquir’d, got her Adorers without ſeeing her; but when they ſaw her, they found themſelves conquer’d and undone; all were glad ſhe was come into the World, of whom they had heard ſo much, and all the Youth of the Town dreſs’d only for Iſabella de Valerie, ſhe roſe like a new Star that Eclips’d all the reſt, and which ſet the World a gazing. Some hop’d, and ſome deſpair’d, but all lov’d, while Iſabella regarded not their Eyes, their diſtant darling Looks of Love, and their ſigns of Adoration; ſhe was civil and affable to all, but ſo reſerv’d, that none durſt tell her his Paſſion, or name that ſtrange and abhorr’d thing, Love, to her; the Relations, with whom ſhe went abroad every day, were fein to force her out, and when ſhe went, ’twas the motive of Civility, and not Satisfaction, that made her go; what- B9r 17 whatever ſhe ſaw, ſhe beheld with no admiration, and nothing created wonder in her, tho’ never ſo ſtrange and Novel. She ſurvey’d all things with an indifference, that tho’ it was not ſullen, was far from Tranſport, ſo that her evenneſs of Mind was infintely admir’d and prais’d. And now it was, that, young as ſhe was, her Conduct and Diſcretion appear’d equal to her Wit and Beauty, and ſhe encreas’d daily in Reputation, inſomuch, that the Parents of abundance of young Noble Men, made it their buſineſs to endeavor to marry their Sons to ſo admirable and noble a Maid, and one, whoſe Virtues were the Diſcourſe of all the World; the Father, the Lady Abbeſs, and thoſe who had her abroad, were ſolicited to make an Alliance; for the Father, he would give no anſwer, but left it to the diſcretion of Iſabella, who could not B9v 18 not be perſuaded to hear any thing of that nature; ſo that for a long time ſhe refus’d her company to all thoſe, who propos’d any thing of Marriage to her; ſhe ſaid, ſhe had ſeen nothing in the World that was worth her Care, or the venturing the loſing of Heaven for, and therefore was reſolv’d to dedicate her ſelf to that; that the more ſhe ſaw of the World, the worſe ſhe lik’d it, and pity’d the Wretches that were condemn’d to it; that ſhe had conſider’d it, and found no one Inclination that forbad her immediate Entrance into a Religious Life; to which, her Father, after uſing all the Arguments he could, to make her take good heed of what ſhe went about, to conſider it well; and had urg’d all the Inconveniencies of Severe Life, Watchings, Midnight Riſings in all Weathers and Seaſons to Prayers, hard Lodging, courſe B10r 19 courſe Diet, and homely Habit, with a thouſand other things of Labour and Work us’d among the Nuns; and finding her ſtill reſolv’d and inflexible to all contrary perſuaſions, he conſented, kiſs’d her, and told her, She had argu’d according to the wiſh of his Soul, and that he never believ’d himſelf truly happy, till this moment that he was aſſur’d, ſhe would become a Religious.

This News, to the Heart-breaking of a thouſand Lovers, was ſpread all over the Town, and there was nothing but Songs of Complaint, and of her retiring, after ſhe had ſhewn her ſelf to the World, and vanquiſhed ſo many Hearts; all Wits were at work on this Cruel Subject, and one begat another, as is uſual in ſuch Affairs. Amongſt the number of theſe Lovers, there was a young Gentleman, Nobly born, B10v 20 born, his Name was Villenoys, who was admirably made, and very handſom, had travell’d and accompliſh’d himſelf, as much as was poſſible for one ſo young to do; he was about Eighteen, and was going to the Siege of Candia, in a very good Equipage, but, overtaken by his Fate, ſurpris’d in his way to Glory, he ſtopt at Ipers, ſo fell moſt paſſionately in love with this Maid of Immortal Fame; but being defeated in his hopes by this News, was the Man that made the ſofteſt Complaints to this fair Beauty, and whoſe violence of Paſſion oppreſs’d him to that degree, that he was the only Lover, who durſt himſelf tell her, he was in love with her; he writ Billets ſo ſoft and tender, that ſhe had, of all her Lovers, moſt compaſſion for Villenoys, and dain’d ſeveral times, in pity of him, to ſend him anſwers to his Letters,ters, B11r 21 ters, but they were ſuch, as abſolutely forbad him to love her; ſuch as incited him to follow Glory, the Miſtreſs that could nobleſt reward him; and that, for her part, her Prayers ſhould always be, that he might be victorious, and the Darling of that Fortune he was going to court; and that ſhe, for her part, had fix’d her Mind on Heaven, and no Earthly Thought ſhould bring it down; but ſhe ſhould ever retain for him all Siſterly Reſpect, and begg’d, in her Solitudes, to hear, whether her Prayers had prov’d effectual or not, and if Fortune were ſo kind to him, as ſhe ſhould perpetually wiſh.

When Villenoys found ſhe was reſolv’d, he deſign’d to perſue his Journy, but could not leave the Town, till he had ſeen the fatal Ceremony of Iſabella’s being made a Nun, which was every day expected; and B11v 22 and while he ſtay’d, he could not forbear writing daily to her, but receiv’d no more Anſwers from her, ſhe already accuſing her ſelf of having done too much, for a Maid in her Circumſtances; but ſhe confeſ’d, of all ſhe had ſeen, ſhe lik’d Villenoys the beſt; and if ſhe ever could have lov’d, ſhe believ’d it would have been Villenoys, for he had all the good Qualities, and grace, that could render him agreeable to the Fair; beſides, that he was only Son to a very rich and noble Parent, and one that might very well preſume to lay claim to a Maid of Iſabella’s Beauty and Fortune.

As the time approach’d, when he muſt eternally loſe all hope, by Iſabella’s taking Orders, he found himſelf leſs able to bear the Efforts of that Deſpair it poſſeſs’d him with, he languiſh’d with the thought, ſo that it was viſible to all his Friends, the B12r 23 the decays it wrought on his Beauty and Gaity: So that he fell at laſt into a Feaver; and ’twas the whole Diſcourſe of the Town, That Villenoys was dying for the Fair Iſabella; his Relations, being all of Quality, were extreamly afflicted at his Miſfortune, and joyn’d their Intereſts yet to diſſuade this fair young Victoreſs from an act ſo cruel, as to incloſe her ſelf in a Nunnery, while the fineſt of all the Youths of Quality was dying for her, and ask’d her, If it would not be more acceptable to Heaven to ſave a Life, and perhaps a Soul, than to go and expoſe her own to a thouſand Tortures? They aſſur’d her, Villenoys was dying, and dying Adoring her; that nothing could ſave his Life, but her kind Eyes turn’d upon the fainting Lover; a Lover, that could breath nothing, but her Name in Sighs and find ſatisfaction in nothing,thing, B12v 24 thing, but weeping, and crying out, I dye for Iſabella! This Diſcourſe fetch’d abundance of Tears from the fair Eyes of this tender Maid; but, at the ſame time, ſhe beſought them to believe, theſe Tears ought not to give them hope, ſhe ſhould ever yield to ſave his Life, by quitting her Reſolution, of becoming a Nun; but, on the contrary, they were Tears, that only bewail’d her own Misfortune, in having been the occaſion of the death of any Man, eſpecially, a Man, who had ſo many Excellencies, as might have render’d him entirely Happy and Glorious for a long race of Years, had it not been his ill fortune to have ſeen her unlucky Face. She believ’d, it was for her Sins of Curiouſity, and going beyond the Walls of the Monaſtery, to wander after the Vanities of the fooliſh World, that had occaſion’d this Miſ- C1r 25 Misfortune to the young Count of Villenoys, and ſhe would put a ſevere Penance on her Body, for the Miſchiefs her Eyes had done him; ſhe fears ſhe might, by ſomthing in her looks, have intic’d his Heart, for ſhe own’d ſhe ſaw him, with wonder at his Beauty, and much more she admir’d him, when ſhe found the Beauties of his Mind; ſhe confeſs’d, ſhe had given him hope, by anſwering his Letters; and that when ſhe found her Heart grow a little more than uſually tender, when ſhe thought on him, ſhe believ’d it a Crime, that ought to be check’d by a Virtue, ſuch as ſhe pretended to profeſs, and hop’d ſhe ſhould ever carry to her Grave; and ſhe deſired his Relations to implore him, in her Name, to reſt contented, in knowing he was the firſt, and ſhould be the laſt, that ſhould ever make an Impreſſion on her Heart; that what C ſhe C1v 26 ſhe had conceiv’d there, for him, ſhould remain with her to her dying day, and that ſhe beſought him to live, that ſhe might ſee, he both deſerv’d this Eſteem ſhe had for him, and to repay it her, otherwiſe he would dye in her debt, and make her Life ever after repoſeleſs.

This being all they could get from her, they return’d with Looks that told their Meſſage; however, they render’d thoſe ſoft things Iſabella had ſaid, in ſo moving a manner as fail’d not to pleaſe, and while he remain’d in this condition, the Ceremonies were compleated, of making Iſabella a Nun; which was a Secret to none but Villenoys, and from him it was carefully conceal’d, ſo that in a little time he recover’d his loſt health, at leaſt, ſo well, as to ſupport the fatal News, and upon the firſt hearing it, he made ready his Equipage, and departed immediately for Candiadia; C2r 27 dia; where he behav’d himſelf very gallantly, under the Command of the Duke De Beaufort, and, with him, return’d to France, after the loſs of that noble City to the Turks.

In all the time of his abſence, that he might the ſooner eſtabliſh his Repoſe, he forbore ſending to the fair Cruel Nun, and ſhe heard no more of Villenoys in above two years; ſo that giving her ſelf wholly up to Devotion, there was never ſeen any one, who led ſo Auſtere and Pious a Life, as this young Votreſs; ſhe was a Saint in the Chapel, and an Angel at the Grate: She there laid by all her ſevere Looks, and mortify’d Diſcourſe, and being at perfect peace and tranquillity within, ſhe was outwardly all gay, ſprightly, and entertaining, being ſatisfy’d, no Sights, no Freedoms, could give any temptations to worldly deſires; ſhe gave a looſe to all that was modeſt,C2 deſt, C2v 28 deſt, and that Virtue and Honour would permit, and was the moſt charming Converſation that ever was admir’d; and the whole World that paſs’d through Iper, of Strangers, came directed and recommended to the lovely Iſabella; I mean, those of Quality: But however Diverting ſhe was at the Grate, ſhe was most exemplary Devout in the Cloyſter, doing more Penance, and impoſing a more rigid Severity and Task on her ſelf, than was requir’d, giving ſuch rare Examples to all the Nuns that were leſs Devout, that her Life was a Proverb, and a Preſident, and when they would expreſs a very Holy Woman indeed, they would ſay, She was a very Isabella.

There was in this Nunnery, a young Nun, call’d Siſter Katteriena, Daughter to the Grave Vanhenault, that is to ſay, an Earl, who liv’d about C3r 29 about ſix Miles from the Town, in a noble Villa; this Siſter Katteriena was not only a very beautiful Maid, but very witty, and had all the good qualities to make her be belov’d, and had moſt wonderfully gain’d upon the Heart of the fair Iſabella, ſhe was her Chamber-Fellow and Companion in all her Devotions and Diverſions, ſo that where one was, there was the other, and they never went but together to the Grate, to the Garden, or to any place, whither their Affairs call’d either. This young Katteriena had a Brother, who lov’d her intirely, and came every day to ſee her, he was about twenty Years of Age, rather tall than middle Statur’d, his Hair and Eyes brown, but his Face exceeding beautiful, adorn’d with a thouſand Graces, and the moſt nobly and exactly made, that ’twas poſſible for Nature to form; to the C3 Fine- C3v 30 Fineneſs and Charms of his Perſon, he had an Air in his Meen and Dreſſing, ſo very agreeable, beſides rich, that ’twas impoſſible to look on him, without wiſhing him happy, becauſe he did ſo abſolutely merit being ſo. His Wit and his Manner was ſo perfectly Obliging, a Goodneſs and Generoſity ſo Sincere and Gallant, that it would even have aton’d for Uglineſs. As he was eldeſt Son to ſo great a Father, he was kept at home, while the reſt of his Brothers were employ’d in Wars abroad; this made him of a melancholy Temper, and fit for ſoft Impreſſ ions; he was very Bookiſh, and had the beſt Tutors that could be got, for Learning and Languages, and all that could compleat a Man; but was unus’d to Action, and of a temper Lazy and given to Repoſe, ſo that his Father could hardly ever get him to uſe any Ex- C4r 31 Exerciſe, or ſo much as ride abroad, which he would call, Loſing Time from his Studies: He car’d not for the Converſation of Men, becauſe he lov’d not Debauch, as they uſually did; ſo that for Exerciſe, more than any Deſign, he came on Horſeback every day to Iper to the Monaſtery, and would ſit at the Grate, entertaining his Siſter the moſt part of the Afternoon, and, in the Evening, retire; he had often ſeen and convers’d with the lovely Iſabella, and found, from the firſt ſight of her, he had more Eſteem for her, than any other of her Sex: But as Love very rarely takesBirthtakes Birth without Hope; ſo he never believ’d that the Pleaſure he took in beholding her, & in diſcourſing with her, was Love, becauſe he regarded her, as a Thing conſecrate to Heaven, and never ſo much as thought to wiſh, ſhe were a Mortal fit for his Addreſſes; yet C4 he C4v 32 he found himſelf more and more fill’d with Reflections on her which was not uſual with him; he found ſhe grew upon his Memory, and oftener came there, than he us’d to do, that he lov’d his Studies leſs, and going to Iper more; and, that every time he went, he found a new Joy at his Heart that pleas’d him; he found, he could not get himſelf from the Grate, without Pain, nor part from the ſight of that all-charming Object, without Sighs; and if, while he was there, any perſons came to viſit her, whoſe Quality ſhe could not refuſe the honour of her ſight to, he would bluſh, and burn, and pant with uneaſineſs, eſpecially, if they were handſom, and fit to make Impreſſions: And he would check this Uneaſineſs in himſelf and ask his Heart, what it meant, by riſing and beating in thoſe Moments, and ſtrive C5r 33 ſtrive to aſſume an Indifferency in vain, and depart diſſatisfy’d, and out of humour.

On the other ſide, Iſabella was not ſo Gay as ſhe us’d to be, but, on the ſudden, retir’d her ſelf more from the Grate than ſhe us’d to do, refus’d to receive Viſits every day, and her Complexion grew a little pale and languid; ſhe was obſerv’d not to ſleep, or eat, as ſhe us’d to do, nor exerciſe in thoſe little Plays they made, and diverted themſelves with, now and then; ſhe was heard to ſigh often, and it became the Diſcourſe of the whole Houſe, that ſhe was much alter’d: The Lady Abbeß, who lov’d her with a moſt tender Paſſion, was infinitely concern’d at this Change, and endeavour’d to find out the Cauſe, and ’twas generally believ’d, ſhe was too Devout, for now ſhe redoubled her Auſterity; and in cold C5 Win- C5v 34 Winter Nights, of Froſt and Snow, would be up at all Hours, and lying upon the cold Stones, before the Altar, proſtrate at Prayers: So that ſhe receiv’d Orders from the Lady Abbeß, not to haraſs her ſelf ſo very much, but to have a care of her Health, as well as her Soul; but ſhe regarded not theſe Admonitions, tho’ even perſuaded daily by her Katteriena, whom ſhe lov’d every day more and more.

But, one Night, when they were retir’d to their Chamber, amongſt a thouſand things that they ſpoke of, to paſs away a tedious Evening, they talk’d of Pictures and Likeneſſes, and Katteriena told Iſabella, that before ſhe was a Nun, in her more happy days, ſhe was ſo like her Brother Bernardo Henault, (who was the ſame that viſited them every day) that ſhe would, in Men’s Clothes, undertake, ſhe ſhould not have C6r 35 have known one from t’other, and fetching out his Picture, ſhe had in a Dreſſing-Box, ſhe ſhew’d it to Iſabella, who, at the firſt ſight of it, turns as pale as Aſhes, and, being ready to ſwound, ſhe bid her take it away, and could not, for her Soul, hide the ſudden ſurpriſe the Picture brought: Katteriena had too much Wit, not to make a juſt Interpretation of this Change, and (as a Woman) was naturally curious to pry farther, tho Diſcretion ſhould have made her been ſilent, for Talking, in ſuch caſes, does but make the Wound rage the more; Why, my dear Siſter, (ſaid Katteriena) is the likeneß of my Brother ſo offenſive to you? Iſabella found by this, ſhe had diſcover’d too much, and that Thought put her by all power of excuſing it; ſhe was confounded with Shame, and the more ſhe ſtrove to hide it, the more it diſ- C6v 36 diſorder’d her; ſo that ſhe (bluſhing extremely) hung down her Head, ſigh’d, and confeſs’d all by her Looks. At laſt, after a conſidering Pauſe, ſhe cry’d, My deareſt Siſter, I do confeß, I was ſurpriz’d at the ſight of Monſieur Henault, and much more than ever you have obſerv’d me to be at the ſight of his Perſon, becauſe there is ſcarce a day wherein I do not ſee that, and know beforehand I ſhall ſee him; I am prepar’d for the Encounter, and have leſſen’d my Concern, or rather Confuſion, by that time I come to the Grate, ſo much Miſtreß I am of my Paſſions, when they give me warning of their approach, and ſure I can withſtand the greateſt aſſaults of Fate, if I can but foreſee it; but if it ſurpize me, I find I am as feeble a Woman, as the moſt unreſolv’d; you did not tell me, you had this Picture, nor ſay, you would ſhew me ſuch a Picture; but when I leaſt expect to ſee that Face, C7r 37 Face, you ſhew it me, even in my Chamber.

Ah, my dear Siſter! (reply’d Katteriena) I believe, that Paleneſs, and thoſe Bluſhes, proceed from ſome other cauſe, than the Nicety of ſeeing the Picture of a Man in your Chamber: You have too much Wit, (reply’d Iſabella) to be impos’d on by ſuch an Excuſe, if I were ſo ſilly to make it; but oh! my dear Siſter! it was in my Thoughts to deceive you; could I have Conceal’d my Pain and Sufferings, you ſhould never have known them; but ſince I find it impoſſible, and that I am too ſincere to make uſe of Fraud in any thing, ’tis fit I tell you, from what cauſe my change of Colour proceeds, and to own to you, I fear, ’tis Love, if ever therefore, oh gentle pitying Maid! thou wert a Lover? If ever thy tender Heart were touch’d with that Paſſion? Inform me, oh! inform me, of the nature of that cruel Diſeaſe, and how thou found’ſt a Cure? While C7v 38

While ſhe was ſpeaking theſe words, ſhe threw her Arms about the Neck of the fair Katteriena, and bath’d her Boſom (where ſhe hid her Face) with a ſhower of Tears: Katteriena, embracing her with all the fondneſs of a dear Lover, told her, with a Sigh, that ſhe could deny her nothing, and therefore confeſs’d to her, ſhe had been a Lover, and that was the occaſion of her being made a Nun, her Father finding out the Intrigue, which fatally happen’d to be with his own Page, a Youth of extraordinary Beauty. I was but Young, (ſaid ſhe) about Thirteen, and knew not what to call the new-known Pleaſure that I felt; when e’re I look’d upon the young Arnaldo, my Heart would heave, when e’re he came in view, and my diſorder’d Breath came doubly from my Boſom; a Shivering ſeiz’d me, and my Face grew wan; my Thought was at a C8r 39 a ſtand, and Senſe it ſelf, for that ſhort moment, loſt its Faculties: But when he touch’d me, oh! no hunted Deer, tir’d with his flight, and juſt ſecur’d in Shades, pants with a nimbler motion than my Heart; at firſt, I thought the Youth had had ſome Magick Art, to make one faint and tremble at his touches; but he himſelf, when I accus’d his Cruelty, told me, he had no Art, but awful Paſſion, and vow’d, that when I touch’d him, he was ſo; ſo trembling, ſo ſurpriz’d, ſo charm’d, ſo pleas’d. When he was preſent, nothing could diſpleaſe me, but when he parted from me; then ’twas rather a ſoft ſilent Grief, that eas’d it ſelf by ſighing, and by hoping, that ſome kind moment would reſtore my Joy. When he was abſent, nothing could divert me, howe’re I ſtrove, howe’re I toyl’d for Mirth; no Smile, no Joy, dwelt in my Heart or Eyes; I could not feign, ſo very well I lov’d, impatient in his ab- C8v 40 abſence, I would count the tedious parting Hours, and paſs them off like uſeleß Viſitants, whom we wiſh were gon; theſe are the Hours, where Life no buſineß has, at leaſt, a Lover’s Life. But, oh! what Minutes ſeem’d the happy Hours, when on his Eyes I gaz’d, and he on mine, and half our Converſation loſt in Sighs, Sighs, the ſoft moving Language of a Lover!

No more, no more, (reply’d Iſabella, throwing her Arms again about the Neck of the tranſported Katteriena) thou blow’ſt my Flame by thy ſoft Words, and mak’ſt me know my Weakneß, and my Shame: I love! I love! and feel thoſe differing Paſſions! — Then pauſing a moment, ſhe proceeded, Yet ſo didſt thou, but haſt ſurmounted it. Now thou haſt found the Nature of my Pain, oh! tell me thy ſaving Remedy? Alas! (reply’d Katteriena) tho’ there’s but one Diſeaſe, there’s many Remedies: They C9r 41 They ſay, Poſſeſſion’s one, but that to me ſeems a Riddle; Abſence, they ſay, another, and that was mine; for Arnaldo having by chance loſt one of my Billets, diſcover’d the Amour, and was ſent to travel, and my ſelf forc’d into this Monaſtery, where at laſt, Time convinc’d me, I had lov’d below my Quality, and that ſham’d me into Holy Orders. And is it a Diſeaſe, (reply’d Iſabella) that People often recover? Moſt frequently, (ſaid Katteriena) and yet ſome dye of the Diſeaſe, but very rarely. Nay then, (ſaid Iſabella) I fear, you will find me one of theſe Martyrs; for I have already oppos’d it with the moſt ſevere Devotion in the World: But all my Prayers are vain, your lovely Brother perſues me into the greateſt Solitude; he meets me at my very Midnight Devotions, and interrupts my Prayers; he gives me a thouſand Thoughts, that ought not to enter into a Soul dedicated to Hea- C9v 42 Heaven; he ruins all the Glory I have atchiev’d, even above my Sex, for Piety of Life, and the Obſervation of all Virtues. Oh Katteriena! he has a Power in his Eyes, that tranſcends all the World beſides: And, to ſhew the weakneß of Human Nature, and how vain all our Boaſtings are, he has done that in one fatal Hour, that the perſuaſions of all my Relations and Friends, Glory, Honour, Pleaſure, and all that can tempt, could not perform in Years; I reſiſted all but Henault’s Eyes, and they were Ordain’d to make me truly wretched: But yet with thy Aſſiſtance, and a Reſolution to ſee him no more, and my perpetual Truſt in Heaven, I may, perhaps, overcome this Tyrant of my Soul, who, I thought, had never enter’d into holy Houſes, or mix’d his Devotions and Worſhip with the true Religion; but, oh! no Cells, no Cloyſters, no Hermitages, are ſecur’d from his Efforts. This C10r 43 This Diſourſe ſhe ended with abundance of Tears, and it was reſolv’d, ſince ſhe was devoted for ever to a Holy Life, That it was beſt for her to make it as eaſy to her as was poſſible; in order to it, and the baniſhing this fond and uſeleſs Paſſion from her Heart, it was very neceſſary, ſhe ſhould ſee Henault no more: At firſt, Iſabella was afraid, that, in refuſing to ſee him, he might miſtruſt her Paſſion; but Katteriena, who was both Pious and Diſcreet, and endeavour’d truly to cure her of ſo violent a Diſeaſe, which muſt, ſhe knew, either end in her death or deſtruction, told her, She would take care of that matter, that it ſhould not blemiſh her Honour; and ſo leaving her a while, after they had reſolv’d on this, ſhe left her in a thouſand Confuſions, ſhe was now another Woman than what ſhe had hitherto been; ſhe was C10v 44 was quite alter’d in every Sentiment, Thought, and Notion; ſhe now repented, ſhe had promis’d not to ſee Henault; ſhe trembled, and even fainted, for fear ſhe ſhould ſee him no more; ſhe was not able to bear that thought, it made her rage within, like one poſſeſt, and all her Virtue could not calm her; yet ſince her word was paſt, and, as ſhe was, ſhe could not, without great Scandal, break it in that point, ſhe reſolv’d to dye a thouſand Deaths, rather than not perform her Promiſe made to Katteriena; but ’tis not to be expreſs’d what ſhe endur’d; what Fits , Pains, and Convulſions, ſhe ſuſtain’d; and how much ado ſhe had to diſſemble to Dame Katteriena, who ſoon return’d to the afflicted Maid; the next day, about the time that Henault was to come, as he uſually did, about two or three a Clock after Noon C11r 45 Noon, ’tis impoſſible to expreſs the uneaſineſs of Iſabella; ſhe ask’d, a thouſand times, What, is not your Brother come? When Dame Katteriena would reply, Why do you ask? She would ſay, Becauſe I would be ſure not to ſee him. You need not fear, Madam, (reply’d Katteriena) for you shall keep your Chamber. She need not have urg’d that, for Iſabella was very ill without knowing it, and in a Feaver.

At laſt, one of the Nuns came up, and told Dame Katteriena, that her Brother was at the Grate, and ſhe deſired, he ſhould be bid come about to the Private Grate above ſtairs, which he did, and ſhe went to him, leaving Iſabella even dead on the Bed, at the very name of Henault: But the more ſhe conceal’d her Flame, the more violently it rag’d, which ſhe ſtrove in vain by Prayers, and thoſe Recourſes of C11v 46 of Solitude to leſſen; all this did but augment the Pain, and was Oyl to the Fire, ſo that ſhe now could hope, that nothing but Death would put an end to her Griefs, and her Infamy. She was eternally thinking on him, how handſome his Face, how delicate every Feature, how charming his Air, how graceful his Meen, how ſoft and good his Diſpoſition, and how witty and entertaining his Converſation. She now fancy’d, ſhe was at the Grate, talking to him as ſhe us’d to be, and bleſt thoſe happy Hours ſhe paſt then, and bewail’d her Misfortune, that ſhe is no more deſtin’d to be ſo Happy, then gives a looſe to Grief; Griefs, at which, no Mortals, but Deſpairing Lovers, can gueſs, or how tormenting they are; where the moſt eaſie Moments are, thoſe, wherein one reſolves to kill ones ſelf, and the happieſt Thought is Damnation; but C12r 47 but from theſe Imaginations, ſhe endeavours to fly, all frighted with horror; but, alas! whither would ſhe fly, but to a Life more full of horror? She conſiders well, ſhe cannot bear Deſpairing Love, and finds it impoſſible to cure her Deſpair; ſhe cannot fly from the Thoughts of the Charming Henault, and ’tis impoſſible to quit ’em; and, at this rate, ſhe found, Life could not long ſupport it ſelf, but would either reduce her to Madneſs, and ſo render her an hated Object of Scorn to the Cenſuring World, or force her Hand to commit a Murder upon her ſelf. This ſhe had found, this ſhe had well conſider’d, nor could her fervent and continual Prayers, her nightly Watchings, her Mortifications on the cold Marble in long Winter Seaſon, and all her Acts of Devotion abate one ſpark of this ſhameful Feaver of Love, that was deſtroying her within.

When C12v 48

When ſhe had rag’d and ſtruggled with this unruly Paſſion, ’till ſhe was quite tir’d and breathleſs, finding all her force in vain, ſhe fill’d her fancy with a thouſand charming Idea’s of the lovely Henault, and, in that ſoft fit, had a mind to ſatisfy her panting Heart, and give it one Joy more, by beholding the Lord of its Deſires, and the Author of its Pains: Pleas’d, yet trembling, at this Reſolve, ſhe roſe from the Bed where ſhe was laid, and ſoftly advanc’d to the Stair-Caſe, from whence there open’d that Room where Dame Katteriena was, and where there was a private Grate, at which, ſhe was entertaining her Brother; they were earneſt in Diſcourſe, and ſo loud, that Iſabella could eaſily hear all they ſaid, and the firſt words were from Katteriena, who, in a ſort of Anger, cry’d, Urge me no more! My Virtue is too nice, D1r 49 nice, to become an Advocate for a Paſſion, that can tend to nothing but your Ruin; for, ſuppoſe I ſhould tell the fair Iſabella, you dye for her, what can it avail you? What hope can any Man have, to move the Heart of a Virgin ſo averſe to Love? A Virgin, whoſe Modeſty and Virtue is ſo very curious, it would fly the very word, Love, as ſome monſtrous Witchcraft, or the fouleſt of Sins, who would loath me for bringing ſo lewd a Meſſage, and baniſh you her Sight, as the Object of her Hate and Scorn; is it unknown to you, how many of the nobleſt Youths of Flanders have addreſs’d themſelves to her in vain, when yet ſhe was in the World? Have you been ignorant, how the young Count De Villenoys languiſh’d, in vain, almoſt to Death for her? And, that no Perſuaſions, no Attractions in him, no worldly Advantages, or all his Pleadings, who had a Wit and Spirit capable of prevailingD vailing D1v 50 vailing on any Heart, leß ſevere and harſh, than hers? Do you not know, that all was loſt on this inſenſible fair one, even when ſhe was a proper Object for the Adoration of the Young and Amorous? And you can hope, now ſhe has ſo entirely wedded her future days to Devotion, and given all to Heaven; nay, lives a Life here more like a Saint, than a Woman; rather an Angel, than a mortal Creature? Do you imagin, with any Rhetorick you can deliver, now to turn the Heart, and whole Nature, of this Divine Maid, to conſider your Earthly Paſſion? No, ’tis fondneß, and an injury to her Virtue, to harbour ſuch a Thought; quit it, quit it, my dear Brother! before it ruin your Repoſe. Ah, Siſter! (reply’d the dejected Henault) your Counſel comes too late, and your Reaſons are of too feeble force, to rebate thoſe Arrows, the Charming Iſabella’s Eyes have fix’d in my Heart and Soul; D2r 51 Soul; and I am undone, unleß ſhe know my Pain, which I ſhall dye, before I ſhall ever dare mention to her; but you, young Maids, have a thouſand Familiarities together, can jeſt, and play, and ſay a thouſand things between Railery and Earneſt, that may firſt hint what you would deliver, and inſinuate into each others Hearts a kind of Curioſity to know more; for naturally, (my dear Siſter) Maids, are curious and vain; and however Divine the Mind of the fair Iſabella may be, it bears the Tincture ſtill of Mortal Woman.

Suppoſe this true, how could this Mortal part about her Advantage you, (ſaid Katteriena) all that you can expect from this Diſcovery, (if ſhe ſhould be content to hear it, and to return you pity) would be, to make her wretched, like your ſelf? What farther can you hope? Oh! talk not (reply’d Henault) of ſo much Happineß! I D2 do D2v 52 do not expect to be ſo bleſt, that ſhe ſhould pity me, or love to a degree of Inquietude; ’tis ſufficient, for the eaſe of my Heart, that ſhe know its Pains and what it ſuffers for her; that ſhe would give my Eyes leave to gaze upon her, and my Heart to vent a Sigh now and then; and, when I dare, to give me leave to ſpeak, and tell her of my Paſſion: This, this, is all, my Siſter. And, at that word, the Tears glided down his Cheeks, and he declin’d his Eyes, and ſet a Look ſo charming, and ſo ſad, that Iſabella, whoſe Eyes were fix’d upon him, was a thouſand times ready to throw her ſelf into the Room, and to have made a Confeſſion, how ſenſible ſhe was of all ſhe had heard and ſeen: But, with much ado, ſhe contain’d and ſatisfy’d her ſelf, with knowing, that ſhe was ador’d by him whom ſhe ador’d, and, with a Prudence that is natural to her, ſhe with- D3r 53 withdrew, and waited with patience the event of their Diſcourſe. She impatiently long’d to know, how Katteriena would manage this Secret her Brother had given her, and was pleas’d, that the Friendſhip and Prudence of that Maid had conceal’d her Paſſion from her Brother; and now contented and joyful beyond imagination, to find her ſelf belov’d, ſhe knew ſhe could diſſemble her own Paſſion, and make him the firſt Aggreſſor; the firſt that lov’d, or, at leaſt, that ſhould ſeem to do ſo. This Thought reſtores her ſo great a part of her Peace of Mind, that ſhe reſolv’d to ſee him, and to diſſemble with Katteriena ſo far, as to make her believe, ſhe had ſubdu’d that Paſſion, ſhe was really aſham’d to own; ſhe now, with her Woman’s Skill, begins to practiſe an Art ſhe never before underſtood, and has recourſe to Cunning, and D3 re- D3v 54 reſolves to ſeem to reaſſume her former Repoſe: But hearing Katteriena approach, ſhe laid her ſelf again on her Bed, where ſhe had left her, but compos’d her Face to more chearfulneſs, and put on a Reſolution that indeed deceiv’d the Siſter, who was extreamly pleaſed, ſhe ſaid, to ſee her look ſo well: When Iſabella reply’d, Yes, I am another Woman now; I hope Heaven has heard, and granted, my long and humble Supplications, and driven from my Heart this tormenting God, that has ſo long diſturb’d my purer Thoughts. And are you ſure, (ſaid Dame Katteriena that this wanton Deity is repell’d by the noble force of your Reſolution? Is he never to return? No, (reply’d Iſabella) never to my Heart. Yes, (ſaid Katteriena) if you ſhould ſee the lovely Murderer of your Repoſe, your Wound would bleed anew. At this, Iſabella ſmiling with a D4r 55 a little Diſdain, reply’d, Becauſe you once to love, and Henault’s Charms defenceleß found me, ah! do you think, I have no Fortitude? But ſo in Fondneß loſt, remiß in Virtue, that when I have reſolv’d, (and ſee it neceſſary for my after-Quiet) to want the power of keeping that Reſolution? No, ſcorn me, and deſpiſe me then, as loſt to all the Glories of my Sex, and all the Nicety I’ve hitherto preſerv’d. There needed no more from a Maid of Iſabella’s Integrity and Reputation, to convince any one of the Sincerity of what ſhe ſaid, ſince, in the whole courſe of her Life, ſhe never could be charg’d with an Untruth, or an Equivocation; and Katteriena aſſur’d her, ſhe believ’d her, and was infinitely glad ſhe had vanquiſh’d a Paſſion, that would have prov’d deſtructive to her Repoſe: Iſabella reply’d, She had not altogether vanquiſh’d her Paſſion, D4 ſhe D4v 56 ſhe did not boaſt of ſo abſolute a power over her ſoft Nature, but had reſolv’d things great, and Time would work the Cure; that ſhe hop’d, Katteriena would make ſuch Excuſes to her Brother, for her not appearing at the Grate ſo gay and entertaining as ſhe us’d, and, by a little abſence, ſhe ſhould retrieve the Liberty ſhe had loſt: But ſhe deſir’d, ſuch Excuſes might be made for her, that young Henault might not perceive the Reaſon. At the naming him, ſhe had much ado not to ſhew ſome Concern extraordinary, and Katteriena aſſur’d her, She had now a very good Excuſe to keep from the Grate, when he was at it; For (ſaid ſhe) now you have reſolv’d, I may tell you, he is dying for you, raving in Love, and has this day made me promiſe to him, to give you ſome account of his Paſſion, and to make you ſenſible of his Languiſhment: I had D5r 57 had not told you this, (reply’d Kateriena but that I believe you fortify’d with brave Reſolution and Virtue, and that this knowledge will rather put you more upon your Guard, than you were before. While ſhe ſpoke, ſhe fix’d her Eyes on Iſabella, to ſee what alteration it would make in her Heart and Looks; but the Maſter-piece of this young Maid’s Art was ſhewn in this minute, for ſhe commanded her ſelf ſo well, that her very Looks diſſembled, and ſhew’d no concern at a Relation, that made her Soul dance with Joy; but it was, what ſhe was prepar’d for, or elſe I queſtion her Fortitude. But, with a Calmneſs, which abſolutely ſubdu’d Katteriena, ſhe reply’d, I am almoſt glad he has confeß’d a Paſſion for me, and you ſhall confeß to him, you told me of it, and that I abſent my ſelf from the Grate, on purpoſe to avoid the ſight of a Man, who durſt love D5 me, D5v 58 me, and confeß it; and I aſſure you, my dear Siſter! (continu’d ſhe, diſſembling) You could not have advanc’d my Cure by a more effectual way, than telling me of his Preſumption. At that word, Katteriena joyfully related to her all that had paſs’d between young Henault and her ſelf, and how he implor’d her Aid in this Amour; at the end of which Relation, Iſabella ſmil’d, and careleſly reply’d, I pity him: And ſo going to their Devotion, they had no more Diſcourſe of the Lover.

In the mean time, young Henault was a little ſatisfy’d, to know, his Siſter would diſcover his Paſſion to the lovely Iſabella; and though he dreaded the return, he was pleas’d that ſhe ſhould know, ſhe had a Lover that ador’d her, though even without hope; for though the thought of poſſeſſing Iſabella, was the moſt raviſhing that could be; yet D6r 59 yet he had dread upon him, when he thought of it, for he could not hope to accompliſh that, without Sacrilege; and he was a young Man, very Devout, and even bigotted in Religion; and would often queſtion and debate within himſelf, that, if it were poſſible, he ſhould come to be belov’d by this Fair Creature, and that it were poſſible for her, to grant all that Youth in Love could require, whether he ſhould receive the Bleſſing offer’d? And though he ador’d the Maid, whether he ſhould not abhor the Nun in his Embraces? ’Twas an undetermin’d Thought, that chill’d his Fire as often as it approach’d; but he had too many that rekindled it again with the greater Flame and Ardor.

His impatience to know, what Succeſs Katteriena had, with the Relation ſhe was to make to Iſabella in D6v 60 in his behalf, brought him early to Iper the next day. He came again to the private Grate, where his Siſter receiving him, and finding him, with a ſad and dejected Look, expect what ſhe had to ſay; ſhe told him, That Look well became the News ſhe had for him, it being ſuch, as ought to make him, both Griev’d, and Penitent; for, to obey him, ſhe had ſo abſolutely diſpleas’d Iſabella, that ſhe was reſolv’d never to believe her her Friend more, Or, to ſee you, (ſaid ſhe) therefore, as you have made me commit a Crime againſt my Conſcience, againſt my Order, againſt my Friendſhip, and againſt my Honour, you ought to do ſome brave thing; take ſome noble Reſolution, worthy of your Courage, to redeem all; for your Repoſe, I promis’d, I would let Iſabella know you lov’d, and, for the mitigation of my Crime, you ought to let me tell her, you have ſurmountedmounted D7r 61 mounted your Paſſion, as the laſt Remedy of Life and Fame.

At theſe her laſt words, the Tears guſh’d from his Eyes, and he was able only, a good while, to ſigh; at laſt, cry’d, What! ſee her no more! ſee the Charming Iſabella no more! And then vented the Grief of his Soul in ſo paſſionate a manner, as his Siſter had all the Compaſſion imaginable for him, but thought it great Sin and Indiſcretion to cheriſh his Flame: So that, after a while, having heard her Counſel, he reply’d, And is this all, my Siſter, you will do to ſave a Brother? All! (reply’d ſhe) I would not be the occaſion of making a Nun violate her Vow, to ſave a Brother’s Life, no, nor my own; aſſure your ſelf of this, and take it as my laſt Reſolution: Therefore, if you will be content with the Friendſhip of this young Lady, and ſo behave your ſelf, that we may find no longer the Lover in D7v 62 in the Friend, we ſhall reaſſume our former Converſation, and live with you, as we ought; otherwiſe, your Preſence will continually baniſh her from the Grate, and, in time, make both her you love, and your ſelf, a Town- Diſcourſe.

Much more to this purpoſe ſhe ſaid, to diſſuade him, and bid him retire, and keep himſelf from thence, till he could reſolve to viſit them without a Crime; and ſhe proteſted, if he did not do this, and maſter his fooliſh Paſſion, ſhe would let her Father underſtand his Conduct, who was a Man of a temper ſo very preciſe, that ſhould he believe, his Son ſhould have a thought of Love to a Virgin vow’d to Heaven, he would abandon him to Shame, and eternal Poverty, by diſinheriting him of all he could: Therefore, ſhe ſaid, he ought to lay all this to his Heart, and weigh it with D8r 63 with his unheedy Paſſion. While the Siſter talk’d thus wiſely, Henault was not without his Thoughts, but conſider’d as ſhe ſpoke, but did not conſider in the right place; he was not conſidering, how to pleaſe a Father, and ſave an Eſtate, but how to manage the matter ſo, to eſtabliſh himſelf, as he was before with Iſabella; for he imagin’d, ſince already ſhe knew his Paſſion, and that if after that ſhe would be prevail’d with to ſee him, he might, ſome lucky Minute or other, have the pleaſure of ſpeaking for himſelf, at leaſt, he ſhould again ſee and talk to her, which was a joyful Thought in the midſt of ſo many dreadful ones: And, as if he had known what paſs’d in Iſabella’s Heart, he, by a ſtrange ſympathy, took the ſame meaſures to deceive Katteriena, a well-meaning young Lady, and easily impos’d on from her D8v 64 her own Innocence, he reſolv’d to diſſemble Patience, ſince he muſt have that Virtue, and own’d, his Siſter’s Reaſons were juſt, and ought to be perſu’d; that ſhe had argu’d him into half his Peace, and that he would endeavour to recover the reſt; that Youth ought to be pardon’d a thouſand Failings, and Years would reduce him to a condition of laughing at his Follies of Youth, but that grave Direction was not yet arriv’d: And ſo deſiring, ſhe would pray for his Converſion, and that ſhe would recommend him to the Devotions of the Fair Iſabella, he took his leave, and came no more to the Nunnery in ten Days; in all which time, none but Impatient Lovers can gueſs, what Pain and Languiſhments Iſabella ſuffer’d, not knowing the Cauſe of his Abſence, nor daring to enquire; but ſhe bore it out ſo admirably, that Dame Kat- D9r 65 Katteriena never ſo much as ſuſpected, ſhe had any Thoughts of that nature that perplex’d her, and now believ’d indeed, ſhe had conquer’d all her Uneaſineſs: And, one day, when Iſabella and ſhe were alone together, ſhe ask’d that fair Diſſembler, if ſhe did not admire at the Conduct and Reſolution of her Brother? Why! (reply’d Iſabella unconcernedly, while her Heart was fainting within, for fear of ill News:) With that, Katteriena told her the laſt Diſcourſe ſhe had with her Brother, and how at laſt ſhe had perſuaded him (for her ſake) to quit his Paſſion; and that he had promis’d, he would endeavour to ſurmount it; and that, that was the reaſon he was abſent now, and they were to ſee him no more, till he had made a Conqueſt over himſelf. You may aſſure your ſelf, this News was not ſo welcom to Iſabella, as Katterienariena D9v 66 riena imagin’d; yet ſtill ſhe diſſembled, with a force, beyond what the moſt cunning Practitioner could have ſhewn, and carry’d her ſelf before People, as if no Preſſures had lain upon her Heart; but when alone retir’d, in order to her Devotion, ſhe would vent her Griefs in the moſt deplorable manner, that a diſtreſs’d diſtracted Maid could do, and which, in ſpite of all her ſevere Penances, ſhe found no abatement of.

At laſt, Henault came again to the Monaſtery, and, with a Look as gay as he could poſſibly aſſume, he ſaw his Siſter, and told her, He had gain’d an abſolute Victory over his Heart; and deſir’d, he might ſee Iſabella, only to convince, both her, and Katteriena, that he was no longer a Lover of that fair Creature, that had ſo lately charm’d him; that he had ſet Five thouſand Pounds a Year, D10r 67 Year, againſt a fruitleſs Paſſion, and found the ſolid Gold much the heavier in Scale: and he ſmil’d, and talk’d the whole Day of indifferent things, with his Siſter, and ask’d no more for Iſabella; nor did Iſabella look, or ask, after him, but in her Heart. Two Months paſs’d in this Indifference, till it was taken notice of, that Siſter Iſabella came not to the Grate, when Henault was there, as ſhe us’d to do; this being ſpoken to Dame Katteriena, ſhe told it to Iſabella, and ſaid, The Nuns would believe, there was ſome Cauſe for her Abſence, if ſhe did not appear again: That if ſhe could truſt her Heart, ſhe was ſure ſhe could truſt her Brother, for he thought no more of her, ſhe was confident; this, in lieu of pleaſing, was a Dagger to the Heart of Iſabella, who thought it time to retrieve the flying Lover, and therefore told Katteriena, She would D10v 68 would the next Day entertain at the Low Grate, as ſhe was wont to do, and accordingly, as ſoon as any People of Quality came, ſhe appear’d there, where ſhe had not been two Minutes, but ſhe ſaw the lovely Henault, and it was well for both, that People were in the Room, they had elſe both ſufficiently diſcover’d their Inclinations, or rather their not to be conceal’d Paſſions; after the General Converſation was over, by the going away of the Gentlemen that were at the Grate, Katteriena being employ’d elſewhere, Iſabella was at laſt left alone with Henault; but who can gueſs the Confuſion of theſe two Lovers, who wiſh’d, yet fear’d, to know each others Thoughts? She trembling with a diſmal Apprehenſion, that he lov’d no more; and he almoſt dying with fear, ſhe ſhould Reproach or Upbraid him with his Pre- D11r 69 Preſumption; ſo that both being poſſeſs’d with equal Sentiments of Love, Fear, and Shame, they both ſtood fix’d with dejected Looks and Hearts, that heav’d with ſtifled Sighs. At laſt, Iſabella, the ſofter and tender-hearted of the two, tho’ not the moſt a Lover perhaps, not being able to contain her Love any longer withingwithin the bounds of Diſſimulation or Diſcretion, being by Nature innocent, burſt out into Tears, and all fainting with preſſing Thoughts within, ſhe fell languiſhly into a Chair that ſtood there, while the diſtracted Henault, who could not come to her Aſſiſtance, and finding Marks of Love, rather than Anger or Diſdain, in that Confuſion of Iſabella’s, throwing himſelf on his Knees at the Grate, implor’d her to behold him, to hear him, and to pardon him, who dy’d every moment for her, and who D11v 70 who ador’d her with a violent Ardor; but yet, with ſuch an one, as ſhould (tho’ he periſh’d with it) be conformable to her Commands; and as he ſpoke, the Tears ſtream’d down his dying Eyes, that beheld her with all the tender Regard that ever Lover was capable of; ſhe recover’d a little, and turn’d her too beautiful Face to him, and pierc’d him with a Look, that darted a thouſand Joys and Flames into his Heart, with Eyes, that told him, her Heart was burning and dying for him; for which Aſſurances, he made Ten thouſand Aſſeverations of his never-dying Paſſion, and expreſſing as many Raptures and Exceſſes of Joy, to find her Eyes and Looks confeſs, he was not odious to her, and that the knowledge he was her Lover, did not make her hate him: In fine, he ſpoke ſo many things all ſoft and moving, and ſo well D12r 71 well convinc’d her of his Paſſion, that ſhe at laſt was compell’d by a mighty force, abſolutely irreſiſtible, to ſpeak.

Sir, (ſaid ſhe) perhaps you will wonder, where I, a Maid, brought up in the ſimplicity of Virtue, ſhould learn the Confidence, not only to hear of Love from you, but to confeß I am ſenſible of the moſt violent of its Pain my ſelf; and I wonder, and am amazed at my own Daring, that I ſhould have the Courage, rather to ſpeak, than dye, and bury it in ſilence; but ſuch is my Fate. Hurried by an unknown Force, which I have endeavoured always, in vain, to reſiſt, I am compell’d to tell you, I love you, and have done ſo from the firſt moment I ſaw you; and you are the only Man born to give me Life or Death, to make me Happy or Bleſt; perhaps, had I not been confin’d, and, as it were, utterly forbid by my Vow, as well as my Modeſty,deſty, D12v 72 deſty, to tell you this, I ſhould not have been ſo miſerable to have fallen thus low, as to have confeſs’d my Shame; but our opportunities of Speaking are ſo few, and Letters ſo impoſſible to be ſent without diſcovery, that perhaps this is the only time I ſhall ever have to ſpeak with you alone. And, at that word, the Tears flow’d abundantly from her Eyes, and gave Henault leave to ſpeak. Ah Madam! (ſaid he) do not, as ſoon as you have rais’d me to the greateſt Happineß in the World, throw me with one word beneath your Scorn, much eaſier ’tis to dye, and know I am lov’d, than never, never, hope to hear that bleſſed Sound again from that beautiful Mouth: Ah, Madam! rather let me make uſe of this one opportunity our happy Luck has given us, and contrive how we may for ever ſee, and ſpeak, to each other; let us aſſure one another, there are a thouſand ways to E1r 73 to eſcape a place ſo rigid, as denies us that Happineß; and denies the faireſt Maid in the World, the privilege of her Creation, and the end to which ſhe was form’d ſo Angelical. And ſeeing Iſabella was going to ſpeak, leſt ſhe ſhould ſay ſomething, that might diſſuade from an Attempt ſo dangerous and wicked, he perſu’d to tell her, it might be indeed the laſt moment Heaven would give ’em, and beſought her to anſwer him what he implor’d, whether ſhe would fly with him from the Monaſtery? At this Word, ſhe grew pale, and ſtarted, as at ſome dreadful Sound, and cry’d, Hah! what is’t you ſay? Is it poſſible, you ſhould propoſe a thing ſo wicked? And can it enter into your Imagination, becauſe I have ſo far forgot my Virtue, and my Vow, to become a Lover, I ſhould therefore fall to ſo wretched a degree of Infamy and Reprobation? No, name it to me no E more, E1v 74 more, if you would ſee me; and if it be as you ſay, a Pleaſure to be belov’d by me; for I will ſooner dye, than yield to what ― Alas! I but too well approve! These laſt words, ſhe ſpoke with a fainting Tone, and the Tears fell anew from her fair ſoft Eyes. If it be ſo, ſaid he, (with a Voice ſo languiſhing, it could ſcarce be heard) If it be ſo, and that you are reſolv’d to try, if my Love be eternal without Hope, without expectation of any other Joy, than ſeeing and adoring you through the Grate; I am, and muſt; and will be contented, and you ſhall ſee, I can prefer the Sighing to theſe cold Irons, that ſeparate us, before all the Poſſeſſions of the reſt of the World; that I chuſe rather to lead my Life here, at this cruel Diſtance from you, for ever, than before the Embrace of all the Fair; and you ſhall ſee, how pleas’d I will be, to languiſh here; but as you ſee me decay, E2r 75 decay, (for ſurely ſo I ſhall) do not triumph o’re my languid Looks, and laugh at my Pale and meager Face; but, Pitying, ſay, How eaſily I might have preſerv’d that Face, thoſe Eyes, and all that Youth and Vigour, now no more, from this total Ruine I now behold it in, and love your Slave that dyes, and will be daily and viſibly dying, as long as my Eyes can gaze on that fair Object, and my Soul be fed and kept alive with her Charming Wit and Converſation; if Love can live on ſuch Airy Food, (tho’ rich in it ſelf, yet unfit, alone, to ſuſtain Life) it ſhall be for ever dedicated to the lovely Iſabella: But, oh! that time cannot be long; Fate will not lend her Slave many days, who loves too violently, to be ſatisfy’d to enjoy the fair Object of his Deſires, no otherwiſe than at a Grate.

He ceas’d ſpeaking, for Sighs and Tears ſtopt his Voice, and he begg’d E2 the E2v 76 the liberty to ſit down; and his Looks being quite alter’d, Iſabella found her ſelf touch’d to the very Soul, with a concern the moſt tender, that ever yielding Maid was oppreſs’d with: She had no power to ſuffer him to Languiſh, while ſhe by one ſoft word could reſtore him, and being about to ſay a thouſand things that would have been agreable to him, ſhe ſaw her ſelf approach’d by ſome of the Nuns, and only had time to ſay, If you love me, live and hope. The reſt of the Nuns began to ask Henault of News, for he always brought them all that was Novel in the Town, and they were glad ſtill of his Viſits, above all other, for they heard, how all the Amours and Intrigues paſs’d in the World, by this young Cavalier. Theſe laſt words of Iſabella’s were a Cordial to his Soul, and he, from that, and to conceal the preſent Affair, E3r 77 Affair, endeavour’d to aſſume all the Gaity he could, and told ’em all he could either remember, or invent, to pleaſe ’em, tho’ he wiſh’d them a great way off at that time.

Thus they paſsd the day, till it was a decent hour for him to quit the Grate, and for them to draw the Curtain; all that Night did Iſabella dedicate to Love, ſhe went to Bed, with a Reſolution, to think over all ſhe had to do, and to conſider, how ſhe ſhould manage this great Affair of her Life: I have already ſaid, ſhe had try’d all that was poſſible in Human Strength to perform, in the deſign of quitting a Paſſion ſo injurious to her Honour and Virtue, and found no means poſſible to accompliſh it: She had try’d Faſting long, Praying fervently, rigid Penances and Pains, ſevere Diſciplines, all the Mortification, almoſt to the deſtruction of Life it E3 ſelf, E3v 78 ſelf, to conquer the unruly Flame; but ſtill it burnt and rag’d but the more; ſo, at laſt, ſhe was forc’d to permit that to conquer her, ſhe could not conquer, and ſubmitted to her Fate, as a thing deſtin’d her by Heaven it ſelf; and, after all this oppoſition, ſhe fancy’d it was reſiſting even Divine Providence, to ſtruggle any longer with her Heart; and this being her real Belief, ſhe the more patiently gave way to all the Thoughts that pleas’d her.

As ſoon as ſhe was laid, without diſcourſing (as ſhe us’d to do) to Katteriena, after they were in Bed, ſhe pretended to be ſleepy, and turning from her, ſetled her ſelf to profound Thinking, and was reſolv’d to conclude the Matter, between her Heart, and her Vow of Devotion, that Night, that ſhe, having no more to determine, might end the Affair accordingly, the firſt op- E4r 79 opportunity ſhe ſhould have to ſpeak to Henault, which was, to fly, and marry him; or, to remain for ever fix’d to her Vow of Chaſtity. This was the Debate; ſhe brings Reaſon on both ſides: Againſt the firſt, ſhe ſets the Shame of a Violated Vow, and conſiders, where ſhe ſhall ſhew her Face after ſuch an Action; to the Vow, ſhe argues, that ſhe was born in Sin, and could not live without it; that ſhe was Human, and no Angel, and that, poſſibly, that Sin might be as ſoon forgiven, as another; that ſince all her Devout Endeavours could not defend her from the Cauſe, Heaven ought to excuſe the Effect; that as to ſhewing her Face, ſo ſhe ſaw that of Henault always turn’d (Charming as it was) towards her with love; what had ſhe to do with the World, or car’d to behold any other?

E4 Some E4v 80

Some times, ſhe thought, it would be more Brave and Pious to dye, than to break her Vow; but ſhe ſoon anſwer’d that, as falſe Arguing, for Self-Murder was the worſt of Sins, and in the Deadly Number. She could, after ſuch an Action, live to repent, and, of two Evils, ſhe ought to chuſe the leaſt; ſhe dreads to think, ſince ſhe had ſo great a Reputation for Virtue and Piety, both in the Monaſtery, and in the World, what they both would ſay, when ſhe ſhould commit an Action ſo contrary to both theſe, ſhe profeſt; but, after a whole Night’s Debate, Love was the ſtrongeſt, and gain’d the Victory. She never went about to think, how ſhe ſhould eſcape, becauſe ſhe knew it would be eaſy, the keeping of the Key of the Monaſtery, often intruſted in her keeping, and was, by turns, in the hands of many more, whoſe Virtue and Diſ- E5r 81 Diſcretion was Infallible, and out of Doubt; beſides, her Aunt being the Lady Abbeß, ſhe had greater Privilege than the reſt; ſo that ſhe had no more to do, ſhe thought, than to acquaint Henault with her Deſign, as ſoon as ſhe ſhould get an opportunity. Which was not quickly; but, in the mean time, Iſabella’s Father dy’d, which put ſome little ſtop to our Lover’s Happineſs, and gave her a ſhort time of Grief; but Love, who, while he is new and young, can do us Miracles, ſoon wip’d her Eyes, and chas’d away all Sorrow from her Heart, and grew every day more and more impatient, to put her new Deſign in Execution, being every day more reſolv’d. Her Father’s Death had remov’d one Obſtacle, and ſecur’d her from his Reproaches; and now ſhe only wants Opportunity, firſt, to acquaint Henault, and then to fly.

E5 She E5v 82

She waited not long, all things concurring to her deſire; for Katteriena falling ſick, ſhe had the good luck, as ſhe call’d it then, to entertain Henault at the Grate oftentimes alone; the firſt moment ſhe did ſo, ſhe entertain’d him with the good News, and told him, She had at laſt vanquiſh’d her Heart in favour of him, and loving him above all things, Honour, her Vow or Reputation, had reſolv’d to abandon her ſelf wholly to him, to give her ſelf up to love and ſerve him, and that ſhe had no other Conſideration in the World; but Henault, inſtead of returning her an Anſwer, all Joy and Satisfaction, held down his Eyes, and Sighing, with a dejected Look, he cry’d, Ah, Madam! Pity a Man ſo wretched and undone, as not to be ſenſible of this Bleſſing as I ought. She grew pale at this Reply, and trembling, expected he E6r 83 he would proceed: ’Tis not (continued he) that I want Love, tendereſt Paſſion, and all the deſire Youth and Love can inſpire: But, Oh, Madam! when I conſider, (for raving mad in Love as I am for your ſake, I do conſider) that if I ſhould take you from this Repoſe, Nobly Born and Educated, as you are; and, for that Act, ſhould find a rigid Father deprive me of all that ought to ſupport you, and afford your Birth, Beauty, and Merits, their due, what would you ſay? How would you Reproach me? He ſighing, expected her Anſwer, when Bluſhes overſpreading her Face, ſhe reply’d, in a Tone all haughty and angry, Ah, Henault! Am I then refus’d, after having abandon’d all things for you? Is it thus, you reward my Sacrific’d Honour, Vows, and Virtue? Cannot you hazard the loß of Fortune to poſſeß Iſabella, who loſes all for you! Then burſt- E6v 84 burſting into Tears, at her misfortune of Loving, ſhe ſuffer’d him to ſay, Oh, Charming fair one! how induſtrious is your Cruelty, to find out new Torments for an Heart, already preſs’d down with the severities of Love? Is it poſſible, you can make ſo unhappy a Conſtruction of the tendereſt part of my Paſſion? And can you imagin it want of Love in me, to conſider, how I ſhall preſerve and merit the vast Bleſſing Heaven has given me? Is my Care a Crime? And, would not the most deſerving Beauty of the World hate me, if I ſhould, to preſerve my Life, and ſatisfy the Paſſion of my fond Heart, reduce her to the Extremities of Want and Miſery? And is there any thing, in what I have ſaid, but what you ought to take for the greateſt Reſpect and tenderneß! Alas! (reply’d Iſabella ſighing) young as I am, all unskilful in Love I find, but what I feel, that DiſerctionDiſcretion is no part of it; and E7r 85 and Conſideration, inconſistent with the Nobler Paſſion, who will ſubſiſt of its own Nature, and love unmix’d with any other Sentiment? And ’tis not pure, if it be otherwiſe: I know, had I mix’d Diſcretion with mine, my Love muſt have been leß, I never thought of living, but by Love; and, if I conſider’d at all, it was, that Grandure and Magnificence were uſeleß Trifles to Lovers, wholly needleß and troubleſom, I thought of living in ſome loanly Cottage, far from the noiſe of crowded buſie Cities, to walk with thee in Groves, and ſilent Shades, where I might hear no Voice but thine; and when we had been tir’d, to ſit us down by ſome cool murmering Rivulet, and be to each a World, my Monarch thou, and I thy Sovereign Queen, while Wreaths of Flowers ſhall crown our happy Heads, ſome fragrant Bank our Throne, and Heaven our Canopy; Thus we might laugh at Fortune, and the E7v 86 the Proud, deſpiſe the duller World, who place their Joys in mighty Shew and Equipage. Alas! my Nature could not bear it, I am unus’d to Worldly Vanities, and would boaſt of nothing, but my Henault; no Riches, but his Love; no Grandure, but his Preſence. She ended ſpeaking, with Tears, and he reply’d, Now, now, I find, my Iſabella loves indeed, when ſhe’s content to abandon the World for my ſake; Oh! thou haſt wanted the only happy Life that ſuits my quiet Nature, to be retir’d, has always been my Joy! But to be ſo with thee! Oh! thou haſt charm’d me with a Thought ſo dear, as has for ever baniſh’d all my Care, but how to receive thy Goodneß! I’le think no more what my angry Parent may do, when he ſhall hear, how I have diſpos’d of my ſelf againſt his Will and Pleaſure, but truſt to Love and Providence; no more! be gone all Thoughts, but thoſe of Iſabella! As E8r 87 As ſoon as he had made an end of expreſſing his Joy, he fell to conſulting how, and when, ſhe ſhould eſcape; and ſince it was uncertain, when ſhe ſhould be offer’d the Key, for ſhe would not ask for it, ſhe reſolv’d to give him notice, either by word of Mouth, or a bit of Paper ſhe would write in, and give him through the Grate the firſt opportunity, and, parting for that time, they both reſolv’d to get up what was poſſible for their Support, till Time ſhauldſhould reconcile Affairs and Friends, and to wait the happy hour.

Iſabella’s dead Mother had left Jewels, of the value of 2000 l. to her Daughter, at her Deceaſe, which Jewels were in the poſſeſſion, now, of the Lady Abbeß, and were upon Sale, to be added to the Revenue of the Monaſtery; and as Iſabella was the moſt Prudent of her Sex, at leaſt, had hitherto been ſo eſteem’d, ſhe E8v 88 ſhe was intruſted with all that was in poſſeſſion of the Lady Abbeß, and ’twas not difficult to make her ſelf Miſtreſs of all her own Jewels; as also, ſome 3 or 400 l. in Gold, that was hoarded up in her Ladiſhip’s Cabinet, againſt any Accidents that might arrive to the Monaſtery; theſe Iſabella alſo made her own, and put up with the Jewels; and having acquainted Henault, with the Day and Hour of her Eſcape, he got together what he could, and waiting for her, with his Coach, one Night, when no body was awake but her ſelf, when riſing ſoftly, as ſhe us’d to do, in the Night, to her Devotion, ſhe ſtole ſo dexterouſly out of the Monaſtery, as no body knew any thing of it; ſhe carry’d away the Keys with her, after having lock’d all the Doors, for ſhe was intruſted often with all. She found Henault waiting in his Coach, and truſt- E9r 89 truſted none but an honeſt Coachman that lov’d him; he receiv’d her with all the Tranſports of a truly raviſh’d Lover, and ſhe was infinitely charm’d with the new Pleaſure of his Embraces and Kiſſes.

They drove out of Town immediately, and becauſe ſhe durſt not be ſeen in that Habit, (for it had been immediate Death for both) they drove into a Thicket ſome three Miles from the Town, where Henault having brought her ſome of his younger Siſter’s Clothes, he made her put off her Habit, and put on thoſe; and, rending the other, they hid them in a Sand-pit, cover’d over with Broom, and went that Night forty Miles from Iper, to a little Town upon the River Rhine, where, changing their Names, they were forthwith married, and took a Houſe in a Country Village, a Farm, where they reſolv’d to live re- E9v 90 retir’d, by the Name of Beroone, and drove a Farming Trade; however, not forgetting to ſet Friends and Engines at work, to get their Pardon, as Criminals, firſt, that had tranſgreſs’d the Law; and, next, as diſobedient Perſons, who had done contrary to the Will and Deſire of their Parents: Iſabella writ to her Aunt the moſt moving Letters in the World, ſo did Henault to his Father; but ſhe was a long time, before ſhe could gain ſo much as an anſwer from her Aunt, and Henault was ſo unhappy, as never to gain one from his Father; who no ſooner heard the News that was ſpread over all the Town & Country, that young Henault was fled with the ſo fam’d Iſabella, a Nun, and ſingular for Devotion and Piety of Life, but he immediately ſetled his Eſtate on his younger Son, cutting Henault off all his Birthright, which was 5000 l. a Year. This E10r 91 This News, you may believe, was not very pleaſing to the young Man, who tho’ in poſſeſſion of the lovelieſt Virgin, and now Wife, that ever Man was bleſs’d with; yet when he reflected, he ſhould have Children by her, and theſe and ſhe ſhould come to want, (he having been magnificently Educated, and impatient of ſcanty Fortune) he laid it to Heart, and it gave him a thouſand Uneaſineſſes in the midſt of unſpeakable Joys; and the more he ſtrove to hide his Sentiments from Iſabella, the more tormenting it was within; he durſt not name it to her, ſo inſuperable a Grief it would cauſe in her, to hear him complain; and tho’ ſhe could live hardly, as being bred to a devout and ſevere Life, he could not, but muſt let the Man of Quality ſhew it ſelf, even in the diſguiſe of an humbler Farmer: Beſides all this, he E10v 92 he found nothing of his Induſtry thrive, his Cattel ſtill dy’d in the midſt of thoſe that were in full Vigour and Health of other Peoples; his Crops of Wheat and Barly, and other Grain, tho’ manag’d by able and knowing Husbandmen, were all, either Mildew’d, or Blaſted, or ſome Misfortune ſtill arriv’d to him; his Coach-Horſes would fight and kill one another, his Barns ſometimes be fir’d; ſo that it became a Proverb all over the Country, if any ill Luck had arriv’d to any body, they would ſay, They had Monſieur Beroone’s Luck. All theſe Reflections did but add to his Melancholy, and he grew at laſt to be in ſome want, inſomuch, that Iſabella, who had by her frequent Letters, and ſubmiſſive Supplications, to her Aunt, (who lov’d her tenderly) obtain’d her Pardon, and her Bleſſing; ſhe now preſs’d her for E11r 93 for ſome Money, and beſought her to conſider, how great a Fortune ſhe had brought to the Monastery, and implor’d, ſhe would allow her ſome Sallary out of it, for ſhe had been marry’d two Years, and moſt of what ſhe had was exhauſted. The Aunt, who found, that what was done, could not be undone, did, from time to time, ſupply her ſo, as one might have liv’d very decently on that very Revenue; but that would not ſatisfy the great Heart of Henault. He was now about three and twenty Years old, and Iſabella about eighteen, too young, and too lovely a Pair, to begin their Misfortunes ſo ſoon; they were both the moſt Juſt and Pious in the World; they were Examples of Goodneſs, and Eminent for Holy Living, and for perfect Loving, and yet nothing thriv’d they undertook; they had no Children,dren, E11v 94 dren, and all their Joy was in each other; at laſt, one good Fortune arriv’d to them, by the Solicitations of the Lady Abbeß, and the Biſhop, who was her near Kinſman, they got a Pardon for Iſabella’s quitting the Monaſtery, and marrying, ſo that ſhe might now return to her own Country again. Henault having alſo his Pardon, they immediately quit the place, where they had remain’d for two Years, and came again into Flanders, hoping, the change of place might afford ’em better Luck.

Henault then began again to ſolicit his Cruel Father, but nothing would do, he refus’d to ſee him, or to receive any Letters from him; but, at laſt, he prevail’d ſo far with him, as that he ſent a Kinſman to him, to aſſure him, if he would leave his Wife, and go into the French Campagn, he would Equip him E12r 95 him as well as his Quality requir’d, and that, according as he behav’d himſelf, he ſhould gain his Favour; but if he liv’d Idly at home, giving up his Youth and Glory to lazy Love, he would have no more to ſay to him, but race him out of his Heart, and out of his Memory.

He had ſetled himſelf in a very pretty Houſe, furniſhed with what was fitting for the Reception of any body of Quality that would live a private Life, and they found all the Reſpect that their Merits deſerv’d from all the World, every body entirely loving and endeavouring to ſerve them; and Iſabella ſo perfectly had the Aſcendent over her Aunt’s Heart, that ſhe procur’d from her all that ſhe could deſire, and much more than ſhe could expect. She was perpetually progging and ſaving all that ſhe could, to enrich and advance her, and, at laſt, par- E12v 96 pardoning and forgiving Henault, lov’d him as her own Child; ſo that all things look’d with a better Face than before, and never was ſo dear and fond a Couple ſeen, as Henault and Iſabella; but, at last, ſhe prov’d with Child, and the Aunt, who might reaſonably believe, ſo young a Couple would have a great many Children, and foreſeeing there was no Proviſion likely to be made them, unleſs he pleas’d his Father, for if the Aunt ſhould chance to dye, all their Hope was gone; ſhe therefore daily ſolicited him to obey his Father, and go to the Camp; and that having atchiev’d Fame and Renown, he would return a Favourite to his Father, and Comfort to his Wife: After ſhe had ſolicited in vain, for he was not able to endure the thought of leaving Iſabella, melancholy as he was with his ill Fortune; the F1r 97 the Biſhop, kinſman to Iſabella, took him to task, and urg’d his Youth and Birth, and that he ought not to waſt both without Action, when all the World was employ’d; and, that ſince his Father had ſo great a deſire he ſhould go into a Campagn, either to ſerve the Venetian againſt the Turks, or into the French Service, which he lik’d beſt; he beſought him to think of it; and ſince he had ſatisfy’d his Love, he ſhould and ought to ſatisfy his Duty, it being abſolutely neceſſary for the wiping off the Stain of his Sacrilege, and to gain him the favour of Heaven, which, he found, had hitherto been averſe to all he had undertaken: In fine, all his Friends, and all who lov’d him, joyn’d in this Deſign, and all thought it convenient, nor was he inſenſible of the Advantage it might bring him; but Love, which every day grew fonder F and F1v 98 and fonder in his Heart, oppos’d all their Reaſonings, tho’ he ſaw all the Brave Youth of the Age preparing to go, either to one Army, or the other.

At laſt, he lets Iſabella know, what Propoſitions he had made him, both by his Father, and his Relations; at the very firſt Motion, ſhe almoſt fainted in his Arms, while he was ſpeaking, and it poſſeſs’d her with ſo intire a Grief, that ſhe miſcarry’d, to the inſupportable Torment of her tender Husband and Lover, ſo that, to re-eſtabliſh her Repoſe, he was forc’d to promiſe not to go; however, ſhe conſider’d all their Circumſtances, and weigh’d the Advantages that might redound both to his Honour and Fortune, by it; and, in a matter of a Month’s time, with the Perſuaſions and Reaſons of her Friends, ſhe ſuffer’d him to reſolve upon going, her ſelf determiningmining F2r 99 mining to retire to the Monaſtery, till the time of his Return; but when ſhe nam’d the Monaſtery, he grew pale and diſorder’d, and obliged her to promiſe him, not to enter into it any more, for fear they ſhould never ſuffer her to come forth again; ſo that he reſolv’d not to depart, till ſhe had made a Vow to him, never to go again within the Walls of a Religious Houſe, which had already been ſo fatal to them. She promis’d, and he believ’d.

Henault, at laſt, overcame his Heart, which pleaded ſo for his Stay, and ſent his Father word, he was ready to obey him, and to carry the firſt Efforts of his Arms againſt the common Foes of Chriſtendom, the Turks; his Father was very well pleas’d at this, and ſent him Two thouſand Crowns, his Horſes and Furniture ſutable to his Quality, and a Man to wait on him; ſo F2 that F2v 100 that it was not long e’re he got himſelf in order to be gone, after a diſmal parting.

He made what haſt he could to the French Army, then under the Command of the Monſignior, the Duke of Beaufort, then at Candia, and put himſelf a Voluntier under his Conduct; in which Station was Villenoys, who, you have already heard, was ſo paſſionate a Lover of Iſabella, who no ſooner heard of Henault’s being arriv’d, and that he was Husband to Iſabella, but he was impatient to learn, by what ſtrange Adventure he came to gain her, even from her Vow’d Retreat, when he, with all his Courtſhip, could not be ſo happy, tho’ ſhe was then free in the World, and Unvow’d to Heaven.

As ſoon as he ſent his Name to Henault, he was ſent for up, for Henault had heard of Villenoys, and that F3r 101 that he had been a Lover of Iſabella; they receiv’d one another with all the endearing Civility imaginable for the aforeſaid Reaſon, and for that he was his Country-man, tho’ unknown to him, Villenoys being gone to the Army, juſt as Henault came from the Jeſuits College. A great deal of Endearment paſs’d between them, and they became, from that moment, like two ſworn Brothers, and he receiv’d the whole Relation from Henault, of his Amour.

It was not long before the Siege began anew, for he arriv’d at the beginning of the Spring, and, as ſoon as he came, almoſt, they fell to Action; and it happen’d upon a day, that a Party of ſome Four hundred Men reſolv’d to ſally out upon the Enemy, as, when ever they could, they did; but as it is not my buſineſs to relate the Hiſtory F3 of F3v 102 of the War, being wholly unacquainted with the Terms of Battels, I ſhall only ſay, That theſe Men were led by Villenoys, and that Henault would accompany him in this Sally, and that they acted very Noble, and great Things, worthy of a Memory in the Hiſtory of that Siege; but this day, particularly, they had an occaſion to ſhew their Valour, which they did very much to their Glory; but, venturing too far, they were ambuſh’d, in the perſuit of the Party of the Enemies, and being ſurrounded, Villenoys had the unhappineſs to ſee his gallant Friend fall, fighting and dealing of Wounds around him, even as he deſcended to the Earth, for he fell from his Horſe at the ſame moment that he kill’d a Turk; and Villenoys could neither aſſiſt him, nor had the ſatisfaction to be able to reſcue his dead Body from under the Horſes, but, with F4r 103 with much ado, eſcaping with his own Life, got away, in ſpite of all that follow’d him, and recover’d the Town, before they could overtake him: He paſſionately bewail’d the Loſs of this brave young Man, and offer’d any Recompence to thoſe, that would have ventur’d to have ſearch’d for his dead Body among the Slain; but it was not fit to hazard the Living, for unneceſſary Services to the Dead; and tho’ he had a great mind to have Interr’d him, he reſted content with what he wiſh’d to pay his Friends Memory, tho’ he could not: So that all the Service now he could do him, was, to write to Iſabella, to whom he had not writ, tho’ commanded by her ſo to do, in three Years before, which was never ſince ſhe took Orders. He gave her an Account of the Death of her Husband, and how Gloriously he fell fighting for the F4 Holy F4v 104 Holy Croß, and how much Honour he had won, if it had been his Fate to have outliv’d that great, but unfortunate, Day, where, with 400 Men, they had kill’d 1500 of the Enemy. The General Beaufort himſelf had ſo great a Reſpect and Eſteem for this young Man, and knowing him to be of Quality, that he did him the honour to bemoan him, and to ſend a Condoling Letter to Iſabella, how much worth her Eſteem he dy’d, and that he had Eterniz’d his Memory with the laſt Gaſp of his Life.

When this News arriv’d, it may be eaſily imagin’d, what Impreſſions, or rather Ruins, it made in the Heart of this fair Mourner; the Letters came by his Man, who ſaw him fall in Battel, and came off with thoſe few that eſcap’d with Villenoys; he brought back what Money he had, a few Jewels, with Iſabella’s Picture F5r 105 Picture that he carry’d with him, and had left in his Chamber in the Fort at Candia, for fear of breaking it in Action. And now Iſabella’s Sorrow grew to the Extremity, ſhe thought, ſhe could not ſuffer more than ſhe did by his Abſence, but ſhe now found a Grief more killing; ſhe hung her Chamber with Black, and liv’d without the Light of Day: Only Wax Lights, that let her behold the Picture of this Charming Man, before which ſhe daily ſacrific’d Floods of Tears. He had now been abſent about ten Months, and ſhe had learnt juſt to live without him, but Hope preſerv’d her then; but now ſhe had nothing, for which to wiſh to live. She, for about two Months after the News arriv’d, liv’d without ſeeing any Creature but a young Maid, that was her Woman; but extream Importunity oblig’d her to give way F5 to F5v 106 to the Viſits of her Friends, who endeavour’d to reſtore her Melancholy Soul to its wonted Eaſineſs; for however it was oppreſs’d within, by Henault’s Abſence, ſhe bore it off with a modeſt Chearfulneſs; but now ſhe found, that Fortitude and Virtue fail’d her, when ſhe was aſſur’d, he was no more: She continu’d thus Mourning, and thus inclos’d, the ſpace of a whole Year, never ſuffering the Viſit of any Man, but of a near Relation; ſo that ſhe acquir’d a Reputation, ſuch as never any young Beauty had, for ſhe was now but Nineteen, and her Face and Shape more excellent than ever; ſhe daily encreas’d in Beauty, which, joyn’d to her Exemplary Piety, Charity, and all other excellent Qualities, gain’d her a wonderous Fame, and begat an Awe and Reverence in all that heard of her, and there was no Man of any Quality, that did F6r 107 did not Adore her. After her Year was up, ſhe went to the Churches, but would never be ſeen any where elſe abroad, but that was enough to procure her a thouſand Lovers; and ſome, who had the boldneſs to ſend her Letters, which, if ſhe reciev’d, ſhe gave no Anſwer to, and many ſhe ſent back unread and unſeal’d: ſo that ſhe would encourage none, tho’ their Quality was far beyond what ſhe could hope; but ſhe was reſolv’d to marry no more, however her Fortune might require it.

It happen’d, that, about this time, Candia being unfortunately taken by the Turks, all the brave Men that eſcap’d the Sword, return’d, among them, Villenoys, who no ſooner arriv’d, but he ſent to let Iſabella know of it, and to beg the Honour of waiting on her; deſirous to learn what Fate befel her dear Lord, ſhe ſuffer’d him to viſit her, where F6v 108 where he found her, in her Mourning, a thouſand times more Fair, (at leaſt, he fancy’d ſo) than ever ſhe appear’d to be; ſo that if he lov’d her before, he now ador’d her; if he burnt then, he rages now; but the awful Sadneſs, and ſoft Languiſhment of her Eyes, hinder’d him from the preſumption of ſpeaking of his Paſſion to her, tho’ it would have been no new thing; and his firſt Viſit was ſpent in the Relation of every Circumſtance of Henault’s Death; and, at his going away, he begg’d leave to viſit her ſometimes, and ſhe gave him permiſſion: He loſt no time, but made uſe of the Liberty ſhe had given him; and when his Siſter, who was a great Companion of Iſabella’s, went to ſee her, he would ſtill wait on her; ſo that, either with his own Viſits, and thoſe of his Siſter’s, he ſaw Iſabella every day, and had the good luck to ſee, F7r 109 ſee, he diverted her, by giving her Relations of Tranſactions of the Siege, and the Cuſtoms and Manners of the Turks: All he ſaid, was with ſo good a Grace, that he render’d every thing agreeable; he was, beſides, very Beautiful, well made, of Quality and Fortune, and fit to inſpire Love.

He made his Viſits ſo often, and ſo long, that, at laſt, he took the Courage to ſpeak of his Paſſion, which, at firſt, Iſabella would by no means hear of, but, by degrees, ſhe yielded more and more to liſten to his tender Diſcourſe; and he liv’d thus with her two Years, before he could gain any more upon her Heart, than to ſuffer him to ſpeak of Love to her; but that, which ſubdu’d her quite was, That her Aunt, the Lady Abbeß, dy’d, and, with her, all the Hopes and Fortune of Iſabella, ſo that ſhe was left with only a Charminging F7v 110 ing Face and Meen, a Virtue, and a Diſcretion above her Sex, to make her Fortune within the World; into a Religious Houſe ſhe was reſolv’d not to go, becauſe her Heart deceiv’d her once, and ſhe durſt not truſt it again, whatever it promis’d.

The death of this Lady made her look more favourably on Villenoys; but yet, ſhe was reſolv’d to try his Love to the utmoſt, and keep him off, as long as ’twas poſſible ſhe could ſubſiſt, and ’twas for Intereſt ſhe married again, tho’ ſhe lik’d the Perſon very well; and ſince ſhe was forc’d to ſubmit her ſelf to be a ſecond time a Wife, ſhe thought, ſhe could live better with Villenoys, than any other, ſince for him ſhe ever had a great Eſteem; and fancy’d, the Hand of Heaven had pointed out her Deſtiny, which ſhe could not avoid, without a Crime.

So that when ſhe was again importun’dtun’d F8r 111 tun’d by her impatient Lover, ſhe told him, She had made a Vow to remain three Years, at leaſt, before ſhe would marry again, after the Death of the beſt of Men and Husbands, and him who had the Fruits of her early Heart; and, notwithſtanding all the Solicitations of Villenoys, ſhe would not conſent to marry him, till her Vow of Widowhood was expir’d.

He took her promiſe, which he urg’d her to give him, and to ſhew the height of his Paſſion in his obedience; he condeſcends to ſtay her appointed time, tho’ he ſaw her every day, and all his Friends and Relations made her Viſits upon this new account, and there was nothing talk’d on, but this deſign’d Wedding, which, when the time was expir’d, was perform’d accordingly with great Pomp and Magnificence, for Villenoys had no Parents to hinder his Deſign; or if he had, the Reputationtation F8v 112 tation and Virtue of this Lady would have ſubdu’d them.

The Marriage was celebrated in this Houſe, where ſhe liv’d ever ſince her Return from Germany, from the time ſhe got her Pardon; and when Villenoys was preparing all things in a more magnificent Order at his Villa, ſome ten Miles from the City, ſhe was very melancholy, and would often ſay, She had been us’d to ſuch profound Retreat, and to live without the fatigue of Noiſe and Equipage, that, ſhe fear’d, ſhe ſhould never endure the Grandeur, which was proper for his Quality; and tho’ the Houſe, in the Country, was the moſt beautifully Situated in all Flanders, ſhe was afraid of a numerous Train, and kept him, for the moſt part, in this pretty City Manſion, which he Adorn’d and Enlarg’d, as much as ſhe would give him leave; ſo that there wanted nothing, to make F9r 113 make this Houſe fit to receive the People of the greateſt Quality, little as it was: But all the Servants and Footmen, all but one Valet, and the Maid, were lodg’d abroad, for Iſabella, not much us’d to the ſight of Men about her, ſuffer’d them as ſeldom as poſſible, to come in her Preſence, ſo that ſhe liv’d more like a Nun ſtill, than a Lady of the World; and very rarely any Maids came about her, but Maria, who had always permiſſion to come, when ever ſhe pleas’d, unleſs forbidden.

As Villenoys had the moſt tender & violent Paſſion for his Wife, in the World, he ſuffer’d her to be pleas’d at any rate, and to live in what Method ſhe beſt lik’d, and was infinitely ſatisfy’d with the Auſterity and manner of her Conduct, ſince in his Arms, and alone, with him, ſhe wanted nothing that could Charm; ſo that ſhe was eſteem’d, the F9v 114 the faireſt and beſt of Wives, and he the moſt happy of all Mankind. When ſhe would go abroad, ſhe had her Coaches Rich and Gay, and her Livery ready to attend her in all the Splendour imaginable; and he was always buying one rich Jewel, or Necklace, or ſome great Rarity or other, that might pleaſe her; ſo that there was nothing her Soul could deſire, which it had not, except the Aſſurance of Eternal Happineſs, which ſhe labour’d inceſſantly to gain. She had no Diſcontent, but becauſe ſhe was not bleſs’d with a Child; but ſhe ſubmits to the pleaſure of Heaven, and endeavour’d, by her good Works, and her Charity, to make the Poor her Children, and was ever doing Acts of Virtue, to make the Proverb good, That more are the Children of the Barren, than the Fruitful Woman. She liv’d in this Tranquility, belov’d by all, for F10r 115 for the ſpace of five Years, and Time (and perpetual Obligations from Villenoys who was the moſt indulgent and indearing Man in the World) had almoſt worn out of her Heart the Thoughts of Henault, or if ſhe remember’d him, it was in her Prayers, or ſometimes with a ſhort Sigh, and no more, tho’ it was a great while, before ſhe could ſubdue her Heart to that Calmneſs; but ſhe was prudent, and wiſely bent all her Endeavours to pleaſe, oblige, and careſs, the deſerving Living, and to ſtrive all ſhe could, to forget the unhappy Dead, ſince it could not but redound to the diſturbance of her Repoſe, to think of him; ſo that ſhe had now transferr’d all that Tenderneſs ſhe had for him, to Villenoys.

Villenoys, of all Diverſions, lov’d Hunting, and kept, at his Country Houſe, a very famous Pack of Dogs, which he us’d to lend, ſometimes, to a F10v 116 a young Lord, who was his dear Friend, and his Neighbour in the Country, who would often take them, and be out two or three days together, where he heard of Game, and oftentimes Villenoys and he would be a whole Week at a time exerciſing in this Sport, for there was no Game near at hand. This young Lord had ſent him a Letter, to invite him fifteen Miles farther than his own Villa, to hunt, and appointed to meet him at his Country Houſe, in order to go in ſearch of this promis’d Game: So that Villenoys got about a Week’s Proviſion, of what Neceſſaries he thought he ſhould want in that time; and taking only his Valet, who lov’d the Sport, he left Iſabella for a Week to her Devotion, and her other innocent Diverſions of fine Work, at which ſhe was Excellent, and left the Town to go meet this young Challenger.

When F11r 117

When Villenoys was at any time out, it was the cuſtom of Iſabella to retire to her Chamber, and to receive no Viſits, not even the Ladies, ſo abſolutely ſhe devoted her ſelf to her Husband: All the firſt day ſhe paſs’d over in this manner, and, Evening being come, ſhe order’d her Supper to be brought to her Chamber, and, becauſe it was Waſhing-day the next day, ſhe order’d all her Maids to go very early to Bed, that they might be up betimes, and to leave only Maria to attend her; which was accordingly done. This Maria was a young Maid, that was very diſcreet, and, of all things in the World, lov’d her Lady, whom ſhe had liv’d with, ever ſince ſhe came from the Monaſtery.

When all were in Bed, and the little light Supper juſt carry’d up to the Lady, and only, as I ſaid, Maria attending, ſome body knock’d at the Gate, F11v 118 Gate, it being about Nine of the Clock at Night; ſo Maria ſnatching up a Candle, went to the Gate, to ſee who it might be; when ſhe open’d the Door, ſhe found a Man in a very odd Habit, and a worſe Countenance, and asking, Who he would ſpeak with? He told her, Her Lady: My Lady (reply’d Maria) does not uſe to receive Viſits at this hour; Pray, what is your Buſineſs? He reply’d, That which I will deliver only to your Lady, and that ſhe may give me Admittance, pray, deliver her this Ring: and pulling off a ſmall Ring, with Iſabella’s Name and Hair in it, he gave it Maria, who, ſhutting the Gate upon him, went in with the Ring; as ſoon as Iſabella ſaw it, ſhe was ready to ſwound on the Chair where ſhe ſate, and cry’d, Where had you this? Maria reply’d, An old ruſty Fellow at the Gate gave it me, and deſired, it might be his Paſportport F12r 119 port to you; I ask’d his Name, but he ſaid, You knew him not, but he had great News to tell you. Iſabella reply’d, (almoſt ſwounding again) Oh, Maria! I am ruin’d. The Maid, all this while, knew not what ſhe meant, nor, that that was a Ring given to Henault by her Miſtreſs; but endeavouring to recover her, only ask’d her, What ſhe ſhould ſay to the old Meſſenger? Iſabella bid her bring him up to her, (ſhe had ſcarce Life to utter theſe last words) and before ſhe was well recover’d, Maria enter’d with the Man; and Iſabella making a Sign to her, to depart the Room, ſhe was left alone with him.

Henault (for it was he) ſtood trembling and ſpeechleſs before her, giving her leiſure to take a ſtrict Survey of him; at firſt, finding no Feature nor Part of Henault about him, her Fears began to leſſen, and ſhe F12v 120 ſhe hop’d, it was not he, as her firſt Apprehenſions had ſuggeſted; when he (with the Tears of Joy ſtanding in his Eyes, and not daring ſuddenly to approach her, for fear of encreaſing that Diſorder he ſaw in her pale Face) began to ſpeak to her, and cry’d, Fair Creature! is there no Remains of your Henault left in this Face of mine, all o’regrown with Hair? Nothing in theſe Eyes, ſunk with eight Years Abſence from you, and Sorrows? Nothing in this Shape, bow’d with Labour and Griefs, that can inform you? I was once that happy Man you lov’d! At theſe words, Tears ſtop’d his Speech, and Iſabella’s kept them Company, for yet ſhe wanted Words. Shame and Confuſion fill’d her Soul, and ſhe was not able to lift her Eyes up, to conſider the Face of him, whoſe Voice ſhe knew ſo perfectly well. In one moment, ſhe run over a thouſand Thoughts. G1r 121 Thoughts. She finds, by his Return, ſhe is not only expos’d to all the Shame imaginable; to all the Upbraiding, on his part, when he ſhall know ſhe is marry’d to another; but all the Fury and Rage of Villenoys, and the Scorn of the Town, who will look on her as an Adultereſs: She ſees Henault poor, and knew, ſhe muſt fall from all the Glory and Tranquility ſhe had for five happy Years triumph’d in; in which time, ſhe had known no Sorrow, or Care, tho’ ſhe had endur’d a thouſand with Henault. She dyes, to think, however, that he ſhould know, ſhe had been ſo lightly in Love with him, to marry again; and ſhe dyes, to think, that Villenoys muſt ſee her again in the Arms of Henault; beſides, ſhe could not recal her Love, for Love, like Reputation, once fled, never returns more. ’Tis impoſſible to love, and ceaſe to love, (and love G ano- G1v 122 another) and yet return again to the firſt Paſſion, tho’ the Perſon have all the Charms, or a thouſand times more than it had, when it firſt conquer’d. This Miſtery in Love, it may be, is not generally known, but nothing is more certain. One may a while ſuffer the Flame to languiſh, but there may be a reviving Spark in the Aſhes, rak’d up, that may burn anew; but when ’tis quite extinguiſh’d, it never returns or rekindles.

’Twas ſo with the Heart of Iſabella; had ſhe believ’d, Henault had been living, ſhe had lov’d to the laſt moment of their Lives; but, alas! the Dead are ſoon forgotten, and ſhe now lov’d only Villenoys.

After they had both thus ſilently wept, with very different Sentiments, ſhe thought, ’twas time to ſpeak; and diſſembling as well as ſhe could, ſhe careſs’d him in her Arms, and told him, She could not expreſs her Surprizeprize G2r 123 prize and Joy for his Arrival. If ſhe did not Embrace him heartily, or ſpeak ſo Paſſionately as ſhe us’d to do, he fancy’d it her Confuſion, and his being in a condition not ſo fit to receive Embraces from her; and evaded them as much as ’twas poſſible for him to do, in reſpect to her, till he had dreſs’d his Face, and put himſelf in order; but the Supper being juſt brought up, when he knock’d, ſhe order’d him to ſit down and Eat, and he deſir’d her, not to let Maria know who he was, to ſee how long it would be, before ſhe knew him or would call him to mind. But Iſabella commanded Maria, to make up a Bed in ſuch a Chamber, without diſturbing her Fellows, and diſmiſs’d her from waiting at Table. The Maid admir’d, what ſtrange, good, and joyful News, this Man had brought her Miſtreſs, that he was ſo Treated, and alone with her, which never any Man G2 had G2v 124 had yet been; but ſhe never imagin’d the Truth, and knew her Lady’s Prudence too well, to queſtion her Conduct. While they were at Supper, Iſabella oblig’d him to tell her, How he came to be reported Dead; of which, ſhe receiv’d Letters, both from Monſieur Villenoys, and the Duke of Beaufort, and by his Man the News, who ſaw him Dead? He told her, That, after the Fight, of which, firſt, he gave her an account, he being left among the Dead, when the Enemy came to Plunder and ſtrip ’em, they found, he had Life in him, and appearing as an Eminent Perſon, they thought it better Booty to ſave me, (continu’d he) and get my Ranſom, than to ſtrip me, and bury me among the Dead; ſo they bore me off to a Tent, and recover’d me to Life; and, after that, I was recover’d of my Wounds, and ſold, by the Soldier that had taken me, to a Spahee, who kept G3r 125 kept me a Slave, ſetting a great Ranſom on me, ſuch as I was not able to pay. I writ ſeveral times, to give you, and my Father, an account of my Miſery, but receiv’d no Anſwer, and endur’d ſeven Years of dreadful Slavery: When I found, at laſt, an opportunity to make my Eſcape, and from that time, reſolv’d, never to cut the Hair of this Beard, till I ſhould either ſee my deareſt Iſabella again, or hear ſome News of her. All that I fear’d, was, That ſhe was Dead; and, at that word, he fetch’d a deep Sigh; and viewing all things ſo infinitely more Magnificent than he had left ’em, or, believ’d, ſhe could afford; and, that ſhe was far more Beautiful in Perſon, and Rich in Dreſs, than when he left her: He had a thouſand Torments of Jealouſie that ſeiz’d him, of which, he durſt not make any mention, but rather choſe to wait a little, and ſee, whether ſhe had loſt G3 her G3v 126 her Virtue: He deſir’d, he might ſend for a Barber, to put his Face in ſome handſomer Order, and more fit for the Happineſs ’twas that Night to receive; but ſhe told him, No Dreſs, no Diſguiſe, could render him more Dear and Acceptable to her, and that to morrow was time enough, and that his Travels had render’d him more fit for Repoſe, than Dreſſing. So that after a little while, they had talk’d over all they had a mind to ſay, all that was very indearing on his ſide, and as much Concern as ſhe could force, on hers; ſhe conducted him to his Chamber, which was very rich, and which gave him a very great addition of Jealouſie: However, he ſuffer’d her to help him to Bed, which ſhe ſeem’d to do, with all the tenderneſs in the World; and when ſhe had ſeen him laid, ſhe ſaid, She would go to her Prayers, and come to him as ſoon as ſhe had done, which being be- G4r 127 before her uſual Cuſtom, it was not a wonder to him ſhe ſtay’d long, and he, being extreamly tir’d with his Journy, fell aſleep. ’Tis true, Iſabella eſſay’d to Pray, but, alas! it was in vain, ſhe was diſtracted with a thouſand Thoughts what to do, which the more ſhe thought, the more it diſtracted her; ſhe was a thouſand times about to end her Life, and, at one ſtroke, rid her ſelf of the Infamy, that, ſhe ſaw, muſt inevitably fall upon her; but Nature was frail, & the Tempter ſtrong: And after a thouſand Convulſions, even worſe than Death it ſelf, ſhe reſolv’d upon the Murder of Henault, as the only means of removing all Obſtacles to her future Happineſs; ſhe reſolv’d on this, but after ſhe had done ſo, ſhe was ſeiz’d with ſo great Horror, that ſhe imagin’d, if ſhe perform’d it, ſhe ſhould run Mad; and yet, if ſhe did not, ſhe ſhould be alſo Frantick, with G4 the G4v 128 the Shames and Miſeries that would befal her; and believing the Murder the leaſt Evil, ſince ſhe could never live with him, ſhe fix’d her Heart on that; and cauſing her ſelf to be put immediately to Bed, in her own Bed, ſhe made Maria go to hers, and when all was ſtill, ſhe ſoftly roſe, and taking a Candle with her, only in her Night- Gown and Slippers, ſhe goes to the Bed of the Unfortunate Henault, with a Penknife in her hand; but conſidering, ſhe knew not how to conceal the Blood, ſhould ſhe cut his Throat, ſhe reſolves to Strangle him, or Smother him with a Pillow; that laſt Thought was no ſooner borne, but put in Execution; and, as he ſoundly ſlept, ſhe ſmother’d him without any Noiſe, or ſo much as his Strugling: But when ſhe had done this dreadful Deed, and ſaw the dead Corps of her once-lov’d Lord, lye Smiling (as it were) upon her, ſhe fell into a Swound G5r 129 Swound with the Horror of the Deed, and it had been well for her ſhe had there dy’d; but ſhe reviv’d again, and, awaken’d to more and new Horrors, ſhe flyes all frighted from the Chambers, and fancies, the Phantom of her dead Lord purſues her; ſhe runs from Room to Room, and ſtarts and ſtares, as if ſhe ſaw him continually before her. Now all that was ever Soft and Dear to her, with him, comes into her Heart, and, ſhe finds, he conquers anew, being Dead, who could not gain her Pity, while Living.

While ſhe was thus flying from her Guilt, in vain, ſhe hears one knock with Authority at the Door: She is now more affrighted, if poſſible, and knows not whither to fly for Refuge; ſhe fancies, they are already the Officers of Juſtice, and that Ten thouſand Tortures and Wrecks are faſtening on her, to make her confeſs G5 the G5v 130 the horrid Murder; the knocking increaſes, and ſo loud, that the Laundry Maids believing it to be the Woman that us’d to call them up, and help them to Waſh, roſe, and, opening the Door, let in Villenoys; who having been at his Country Villa, and finding there a Footman, inſtead of his Friend, who waited to tell him, His Maſter was fallen ſick of the Small Pox, and could not wait on him, he took Horſe, and came back to his lovely Iſabella; but running up, as he us’d to do, to her Chamber, he found her not, and ſeeing a Light in another Room, he went in, but found Iſabella flying from him, out at another Door, with all the ſpeed ſhe could, he admires at this Action, and the more, becauſe his Maid told him Her Lady had been a Bed a good while; he grows a little Jealous, and perſues her, but ſtill ſhe flies; at laſt, he caught G6r 131 caught her in his Arms, where ſhe fell into a ſwound, but quickly recovering, he ſet her down in a Chair, and, kneeling before her, implor’d to know what ſhe ayl’d, and why ſhe fled from him, who ador’d her? She only fix’d a ghaſtly Look upon him, and ſaid, She was not well: Oh! (ſaid he) put not me off with ſuch poor Excuſes, Iſabella never fled from me, when Ill, but came to my Arms, and to my Boſom, to find a Cure; therefore, tell me, what’s the matter? At that, ſhe fell a weeping in a moſt violent manner, and cry’d, She was for ever undone: He, being mov’d with Love and Compaſſion, conjur’d her to tell what ſhe ayl’d; Ah! (ſaid ſhe) thou and I, and all of us, are undone! At this, he loſt all Patience, and rav’d, and cry’d, Tell me, and tell me immediately, what’s the matter? When ſhe ſaw his Face pale, and his Eyes fierce, ſhe fell on her knees, G6v 132 knees, and cry’d, Oh! you can never Pardon me, if I ſhould tell you, and yet, alas! I am innocent of Ill, by all that’s good, I am. But her Conſcience accuſing her at that word, ſhe was ſilent. If thou art Innocent, ſaid Villenoys, taking her up in his Arms, and kiſſing her wet Face, By all that’s Good, I Pardon thee, what ever thou haſt done. Alas! (ſaid ſhe) Oh! but I dare not name it, ’till you ſwear. By all that’s Sacred, (reply’d he) and by whatever Oath you can oblige me to; by my inviolable Love to thee, and by thy own Self, I ſwear, whate’re it be, I do forgive thee; I know, thou art too good to commit a Sin I may not, with Honour, pardon.

With this, and hearten’d by his Careſſes, ſhe told him, That Henault was return’d; and repeating to him his Eſcape, ſhe ſaid, She had put him to Bed, and when he expected her to come, ſhe fell on her Knees at the Bed- G7r 133 Bed-ſide, and confeſs’d, She was married to Villenoys; at that word, (ſaid ſhe) he fetch’d a deep Sigh or two, and preſently after, with a very little ſtruggling, dy’d; and, yonder, he lyes ſtill in the Bed. After this, ſhe wept ſo abundantly, that all Villenoys could do, could hardly calm her Spirits: but after, conſulting what they ſhould do in this Affair, Villenoys ask’d her, Who of the Houſe ſaw him? She ſaid, Only Maria, who knew not who he was; ſo that, reſolving to ſave Iſabella’s Honour, which was the only Misfortune to come, Villenoys himſelf propos’d the carrying him out to the Bridge, and throwing him into the River, where the Stream would carry him down to the Sea, and loſe him; or, if he were found, none could know him. So Villenoys took a Candle, and went and look’d on him, and found him altogether chang’d, that no G7v 134 no Body would know who he was; he therefore put on his Clothes, which was not hard for him to do, for he was ſcarce yet cold, and comforting again Iſabella, as well as he could, he went himſelf into the Stable, and fetch’d a Sack, ſuch as they us’d for Oats, a new Sack, whereon ſtuck a great Needle, with a Packthread in it; this Sack he brings into the Houſe, and ſhews to Iſabella, telling her, He would put the Body in there, for the better convenience of carrying it on his Back. Iſabella all this while ſaid but little, but, fill’d with Thoughts all Black and Helliſh, ſhe ponder’d within, while the Fond and Paſſionate Villenoys was endeavouring to hide her Shame, and to make this an abſolute Secret: She imagin’d, that could ſhe live after a Deed ſo black, Villenoys would be eternal reproaching her, if not with his Tongue, at leaſt with his Heart, and G8r 135 and embolden’d by one Wickedneſs, ſhe was the readier for another, and another of ſuch a Nature, as has, in my Opinion, far leſs Excuſe, than the firſt; but when Fate begins to afflict, ſhe goes through-ſtitch with her Black Work.

When Villenoys, who would, for the Safety of Iſabella’s Honour, be the ſole Actor in the diſpoſing of this Body; and ſince he was Young, Vigorous, and Strong, and able to bear it, would truſt no one with the Secret, he having put up the Body, and ty’d it faſt, ſet it in a Chair, turning his Back towards it, with the more conveniency to take it upon his Back, bidding Iſabella give him the two Corners of the Sack in his Hands; telling her, They muſt do this laſt Office for the Dead, more, in order to the ſecuring their Honour and Tranquility hereafter, than for any other Reaſon, and bid he G8v 136 her be of good Courage, till he came back, for it was not far to the Bridge, and it being the dead of the Night, he ſhould paſs well enough. When he had the Sack on his Back, and ready to go with it, ſhe cry’d, Stay, my Dear, ſome of his Clothes hang out, which I will put in; and, with that, taking the Pack-needle with the Thread, ſew’d the Sack, with ſeveral ſtrong Stitches, to the Coller of Villenoy’s Coat, without his perceiving it, and bid him go now; and when you come to the Bridge, (ſaid ſhe) and that you are throwing him over the Rail, (which is not above Breaſt high) be ſure you give him a good ſwing, leſt the Sack ſhould hang on any thing at the ſide of the Bridge, and not fall into the Stream: I’le warrant you, (ſaid Villenoys) I know how to ſecure his falling. And going his way with it, Love lent him Strength, and he ſoon G9r 137 ſoon arriv’d at the Bridge; where, turning his Back to the Rail, and heaving the Body over, he threw himſelf with all his force backward, the better to ſwing the Body into the River, whoſe weight (it being made faſt to his Collar) pull’d Villenoys after it, and both the live and the dead Man falling into the River, which, being rapid at the Bridge, ſoon drown’d him, eſpecially when ſo great a weight hung to his Neck; ſo that he dy’d, without conſidering what was the occaſion of his Fate.

Iſabella remain’d the moſt part of the Night ſitting in her Chamber, without going to Bed, to ſee what would become of her Damnable Deſign; but when it was towards Morning, and ſhe heard no News, ſhe put her ſelf into Bed, but not to find Repoſe or Reſt there, for that ſhe thought impoſſible, after ſo great a Barbarity as ſhe had committed:mitted: G9v 138 mitted: No, (ſaid ſhe) it is but juſt, I ſhould for ever wake, who have, in one fatal Night, deſtroy’d two ſuch Innocents. Oh! what Fate, what Deſtiny, is mine? Under what curſed Planet was I born, that Heaven it ſelf could not divert my Ruine? It was not many Hours ſince I thought my ſelf the moſt happy and bleſt of Women, and now am fallen to the Miſery of one of the worſt Fiends of Hell.

Such were her Thoughts, and ſuch her Cryes, till the Light brought on new Matter for Grief; for, about Ten of the Clock, News was brought, that two Men were found dead in the River, and that they were carry’d to the Town-Hall, to lye there, till they were own’d: Within an hour after, News was brought in, that one of theſe Unhappy Men was Villenoys; his Valet, who, all this while, imagin’d him in G10r 139 in Bed with his Lady, ran to the Hall, to undeceive the People, for he knew, if his Lord were gone out, he ſhould have been call’d to Dreſs him; but finding it, as ’twas reported, he fell a weeping, and wringing his Hands, in a moſt miſerable manner, he ran home with the News; where, knocking at his Lady’s Chamber Door, and finding it faſt lock’d, he almoſt hop’d again, he was deceiv’d; but Iſabella riſing, and opening the Door, Maria firſt enter’d weeping, with the News, and then brought the Valet, to teſtify the fatal Truth of it. Iſabella, tho’ it were nothing but what ſhe expected to hear, almoſt ſwounded in her Chair; nor did ſhe feign it, but felt really all the Pangs of Killing Grief; and was ſo alter’d with her Night’s Watching and Grieving, that this new Sorrow look’d very Natural in her. When ſhe was recover’d, ſhe ask’d G10v 140 ask’d a thouſand Questions about him, and queſtion’d the Poſſibility of it; for (ſaid ſhe) he went out this Morning early from me, and had no ſigns, in his Face, of any Grief, or Diſcontent. Alas! (ſaid the Valet) Madam, he is not his own Murderer, ſome one has done it in Revenge; and then told her, how he was found faſten’d to a Sack, with a dead ſtrange Man ty’d up within it; and every body concludes, that they were both firſt murder’d, and then drawn to the River, and thrown both in. At the Relation of this Strange Man, ſhe ſeem’d more amaz’d than before, and commanding the Valet to go to the Hall, and to take Order about the Coroner’s ſitting on the Body of Villenoys, and then to have it brought home: She call’d Maria to her, and, after bidding her ſhut the Door, ſhe cry’d, Ah, Maria! I will tell thee what my Heart imagins; but G11r 141 but firſt, (ſaid ſhe) run to the Chamber of the Stranger, and ſee, if he be ſtill in Bed, which I fear he is not; ſhe did ſo, and brought word, he was gone; then (ſaid ſhe) my Forebodings are true. When I was in Bed laſt Night, with Villenoys, (and at that word, ſhe ſigh’d as if her Heart- Strings had broken) I told him, I had lodg’d a Stranger in my Houſe, who was by, when my firſt Lord and Husband fell in Battel; and that, after the Fight, finding him yet alive, he ſpoke to him, and gave him that Ring you brought me laſt Night; and conjur’d him, if ever his Fortune ſhould bring him to Flanders, to ſee me, and give me that Ring, and tell me― (with that, ſhe wept, and could ſcarce ſpeak) a thouſand tender and endearing things, and then dy’d in his Arms. For my dear Henault’s ſake, (ſaid ſhe) I us’d him nobly, and G11v 142 and diſmiſs’d you that Night, becauſe I was aſham’d to have any Witneſs of the Griefs I paid his Memory: All this I told to Villenoys, whom I found diſorder’d; and, after a ſleepleſs Night, I fancy he got up, and took this poor Man, and has occaſion’d his Death: At that, ſhe wept anew, and Maria, to whom, all that her Miſtreſs ſaid, was Goſpel, verily believ’d it ſo, without examining Reaſon; and Iſabella conjuring her, ſince none of the Houſe knew of the old Man’s being there, (for Old he appear’d to be) that ſhe would let it for ever be a Secret, and, to this, ſhe bound her by an Oath; ſo that none knowing Henault, altho’ his Body was expos’d there for three Days to Publick View: When the Coroner had Set on the Bodies, he found, they had been firſt Murder’d ſome way or other, and then afterwards tack’d together, and thrown into G12r 143 into the River, they brought the Body of Villenoys home to his Houſe, where, it being laid on a Table, all the Houſe infinitely bewail’d it; and Iſabella did nothing but ſwound away, almoſt as faſt as ſhe recover’d Life; however, ſhe would, to compleat her Miſery, be led to ſee this dreadful Victim of her Cruelty, and, coming near the Table, the Body, whoſe Eyes were before cloſe ſhut, now open’d themſelves wide, and fix’d them on Iſabella, who, giving a great Schreek, fell down in a ſwound, and the Eyes clos’d again; they had much ado to bring her to Life, but, at laſt, they did ſo, and led her back to her Bed, where ſhe remain’d a good while. Different Opinions and Diſcourſes were made, concerning the opening of the Eyes of the Dead Man, and viewing Iſabella; but ſhe was a Woman of ſo admirable a Life and Converſation, of G12v 144 of ſo undoubted a Piety and Sanctity of Living, that not the leaſt Conjecture could be made, of her having a hand in it, beſides the improbability of it; yet the whole thing was a Myſtery, which, they thought, they ought to look into: But a few Days after, the Body of Villenoys being interr’d in a moſt magnificent manner, and, by Will, all he had, was long ſince ſetled on Iſabella, the World, inſtead of Suſpecting her, Ador’d her the more, and every Body of Quality was already hoping to be next, tho’ the fair Mourner ſtill kept her Bed, and Languiſh’d daily.

It happen’d, not long after this, there came to the Town a French Gentleman, who was taken at the Siege of Candia, and was Fellow- Slave with Henault, for ſeven Years, in Turky, and who had eſcap’d with Henault, and came as far as Liege with H1r 145 with him, where, having ſome Buſineſs and Acquaintance with a Merchant, he ſtay’d ſome time; but when he parted with Henault, he ask’d him, Where he ſhould find him in Flanders? Henault gave him a Note, with his Name, and Place of Abode, if his Wife were alive; if not, to enquire at his Siſter’s, or his Father’s. This French Man came, at laſt, to the very Houſe of Iſabella, enquiring for this Man, and receiv’d a ſtrange Anſwer, and was laugh’d at: He found, that was the Houſe, and that the Lady; and enquiring about the Town, and ſpeaking of Henault’s Return, deſcribing the Man, it was quickly diſcover’d, to be the ſame that was in the Sack: He had his Friend taken up, (for he was buried) and found him the ſame, and, cauſing a Barber to Trim him, when his buſhy Beard was off, a great many People remember’d him; H and H1v 146 and the French Man affirming, he went to his own Home, all Iſabella’s Family, and her ſelf, were cited before the Magiſtrate of Juſtice, where, as ſoon as ſhe was accus’d, ſhe confeſs’d the whole Matter of Fact, and, without any Diſorder, deliver’d her ſelf in the Hands of Juſtice, as the Murdereſs of two Husbands (both belov’d) in one Night: The whole World ſtood amaz’d at this, who knew her Life a Holy and Charitable Life, and how dearly and well ſhe had liv’d with her Husbands, and every one bewail’d her Misfortune, and ſhe alone was the only Perſon, that was not afflicted for her ſelf; ſhe was Try’d, and Condemn’d to loſe her Head; which Sentence, ſhe joyfully receiv’d, and ſaid, Heaven, and her Judges, were too Merciful to her, and that her Sins had deſerv’d much more.

While ſhe was in Priſon, ſhe was al- H2r 147 always at Prayers, and very Chearful and Eaſie, diſtributing all ſhe had amongſt, and for the Uſe of, the Poor of the Town, eſpecially to the Poor Widows; exhorting daily, the Young, and the Fair, that came perpetually to viſit her, never to break a Vow; for that was firſt the Ruine of her, and ſhe never ſince proſper’d, do whatever other good Deeds ſhe could. When the Day of Execution came, ſhe appear’d on the Scaffold all in Mourning, but with a Meen ſo very Majeſtick and Charming, and a Face ſo ſurprizing Fair, where no Languiſhment or Fear appear’d, but all Chearful as a Bride, that ſhe ſet all Hearts a flaming, even in that mortifying Minute of Preparation for Death: She made a Speech of half an Hour long, ſo Eloquent, ſo admirable a Warning to the Vow- Breakers, that it was as amazing to hear her, as it was to behold her.

Af- H2v 148

After ſhe had done with the help of Maria, ſhe put off her Mourning Vail, and, without any thing over her Face, ſhe kneel’d down, and the Executioner, at one Blow, ſever’d her Beautiful Head from her Delicate Body, being then in her Seven and Twentieth Year. She was generally Lamented, and Honourably Bury’d.

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